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India's Supreme Court protects rights of queer citizens

After the Supreme Court refused to give marriage equality rights to the LGBTQIA+ community in India, Advocate Karuna Nundy said that although there were four separate judgements but anything that was unanimous, was that the rights of queer citizens must be protected and state government can protect them.

"There were four separate judgements. The Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul together elucidated some very important sets of legal and jurisprudential principles. They said that there is no fundamental right to marriage but there are various aspects of the right to marriage located in the constitution including Article 21, which is the right to dignity," Advocate Nundy told ANI.

When asked about child adoption rights, Nundy said that the Chief Justice and Justice Kaul spoke on the right of queer couples to adopt, and this is something that is extremely important. However, Justice Ravindra Bhat didn't agree with that.

Advocate Nundy further noted that they hope that the committee of the central government will ensure that civil unions are recognised.

"There were some opportunities today that I believe have been pushed off to the legislators and the central government has made their stand clear with regards to marriage. We hope that their committee will ensure that civil unions are recognised and concomitants of marriage are then brought into law at least with regards to civil unions," Nundy said.

"I will also say that Congress and other governments in power in the states have many opportunities to bring into law the recognition of a partner's rights to make medical decisions because they can legislate on health, they can look at employment non-discrimination, and there is a lot that can be done. If we heard anything that was unanimous it was that queer citizens have rights...rights of queer citizens must be protected and state governments can protect them" she added.

Senior advocate Geeta Luthra who appeared for some of the petitioners in the marriage equality case said, "Even if the right to marriage has not been given, CJI has said that the same bundle of rights which every married couple has should be available to same-sex couples."

Meanwhile, activist Anjali Gopalan, who was among the bunch of petitioners in the same-sex marriage case on Tuesday said that the Supreme Court verdict refusing to recognise the legality of same-sex marriages in the country was disappointing.

"We have been fighting for long and will keep doing so. Regarding adoption also nothing was done. What the CJI said was very good regarding adoption, but it's disappointing that other justices didn't agree...this is democracy but we are denying basic rights to our own citizens," Gopalan said.

A five-judge Constitution bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud ruled in a 3:2 verdict against giving constitutional validity to same-sex marriages. The top court said it is for Parliament to formulate legislation on it.

The bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, S Ravindra Bhat, Hima Kohli and PS Narasimha delivered the verdict it had reserved on May 11 this year.

Activists and those from the LGBTIQA+ community were hoping for a decision in their favour while there were some other activists who were rooting for the Supreme Court's current verdict as according to them legalising same-sex marriage would have distorted the social fabric of the country.

(ANI)

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