Same Sex Marriage: Live Streaming of Proceedings Has Taken Court to Homes & Hearts of Common Citizens, Says SC

The Supreme Court Tuesday said live streaming of its proceedings has taken the court to the homes and hearts of common citizens and it is trying to use technology to ensure the live-streamed content is made available simultaneously in languages other than English so more people can follow.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud observed this while hearing arguments for the eighth-day on a batch of petitions seeking legal validation for same-sex marriage.

Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for Madhya Pradesh, said an important fallout of the proceedings is that there is a churning in society, and because of this debate and live streaming in different corners of the country, people are thinking about the issue.

“The live-streaming of court proceedings has really taken our court absolutely to the homes and to the hearts of the common citizens and I think that is part of the process,” said the CJI, who is heading the bench which also comprises Justices S K Kaul, S R Bhat, Hima Kohli and P S Narasimha.

Dwivedi said the only hindrance is that arguments in the court happen in English, a language most people residing in villages don’t understand.

“You will be surprised that we are working even on that also, Mr Dwivedi. Even that is not lost on the Supreme Court on its administrative side,” the CJI said.

“We are working on it, the transcripts which you have there, we are now trying to use technology to ensure that the live streaming contents can be simultaneously made available in languages which the citizens can follow,” Justice Chandrachud said.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who is representing ‘Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind’ in the matter, said technology now allows what a person is speaking in English to be heard in different languages including Japanese.

The hearing in the matter is underway.

On May 3, the Centre had told the top court it will constitute a committee headed by the cabinet secretary to examine administrative steps that could be taken for addressing “genuine humane concerns” of same-sex couples without going into the issue of legalising their marriage.

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The Centre’s submission came pursuant to the apex court asking it on April 27 whether social welfare benefits like opening joint bank accounts, nominating life partner in provident funds, gratuity and pension schemes can be granted to same-sex couples without going into the issue of legal sanction to their marriage.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the central government, had told the bench on May 3 that there were discussions at the previous hearing about some genuine humane concerns of such couples and whether something can be done to address those administratively.

“I have taken instructions and government is positive. What we have decided is, of course subject to your lordships’ approval, that this would need coordination between more than one ministries. So, therefore, a committee headed by no less than the cabinet secretary will be constituted,” he had told the bench.

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