A gay couple (Nikesh PP and Sonu MS) has filed a writ petition in the Kerala High Court challenging certain provisions of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 contending that the Act only permits solemnization of marriage between heterosexual individuals.
The petitioners in their plea have contended that the statute is declared unconstitutional on the ground that no such provision exists by way of which a homosexual couple can apply for registration of marriage. The petition claims that the impugned provisions violate their fundamental rights and thus ought to be declared as unconstitutional.
The petitioners have cited a 2018 Supreme Court judgment –Navtej Singh Johar Vs. Union of India recognized a person’s right to sexual identity and to be treated with dignity for that identity. The petitioners have further contended that, in addition to the exclusion from registration of marriage, there is also a denial of ordinary rights including right to maintenance, inheritance, right to nominate each other in insurance, etc.
The gay couple got married in a private ceremony and were shocked to learn about the discriminatory provisions of the Special Marriage Act, to the extent that the Act denied them equal access to the institution of marriage.
The High Court after hearing the matter has sought the responses of the Central and the State governments.