SCBA Terms BCI Resolution on Same Sex Marriage “Highly Inappropriate”

The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has condemned a resolution passed by the Bar Council of India which said the apex court should desist from hearing the pleas seeking legalisation of same-sex marriage, terming it “highly inappropriate.”

In a resolution adopted on April 23, the BCI had expressed its concern over the same-sex marriage issue being heard in the Supreme Court, saying it would be “catastrophic” to overhaul something as fundamental as the conception of marriage by the court and the matter should be left to the legislature.

Responding to the resolution, the SCBA statement, signed by a majority of its members, said it is the duty of the court to decide if the issue should be adjudicated by the court or left to the wisdom of Parliament.

“The SCBA Executive Committee feels it is highly inappropriate for the BCI to issue a Press Statement dated April 23, 2023 opposing a hearing of the matter before the Hon’ble Supreme Court. It is the duty of the Court to hear the petition and decide whether matter should be adjudicated by the Court or left to the wisdom of Parliament,” it said.

The SCBA also clarified its resolution should not be construed to mean it is supporting or opposing the petitioners in the matter pending before the top court.

A five-judge constitution bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices SK Kaul, S Ravindra Bhat, PS Narasimha and Hima Kohli is hearing arguments on a batch of pleas seeking legal validation for same-sex marriages.

In a resolution, the BCI had said any decision by the apex court in such a sensitive matter may prove very harmful for the future generations.

“India is one of the most socio-religiously diverse countries of the world consisting of a mosaic of beliefs. Hence, any matter which is likely to tinker with the fundamental social structure, a matter which has far reaching impact on our socio-cultural and religious beliefs should necessarily come through legislative process only,” the BCI had said.

The BCI resolution said law is a “codified societal norm” that reflects the collective conscience of people, and religion being intertwined with culture, greatly influences the codification of law and societal norms in any civilised society.

The BCI said though it welcomes the Supreme Court’s step in furthering the debate on the matter, it wants the issue to be “left for legislative consideration.”

SCBA president Vikas Singh, while responding to the BCI resolution had tweeted on April 25: “When a matter is up for adjudication before the Supreme Court, it’s inappropriate for the Bar Council of India to issue a press statement that the matter can only be decided by the parliament. The proper way for them would be to intervene and argue the point.” 

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