The Supreme Court on Tuesday told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, that it is in charge of the hearing on petitions seeking legal sanction for same-sex marriages, after he insisted that it consider preliminary objections to the court deciding the petitions.
Mehta urged a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud to consider the government's preliminary objection to the court deciding the issue, which is essentially in Parliament's domain.
The bench -- also comprising Justices S.K. Kaul, S.R. Bhat, Hima Kohli, and P.S. Narasimha -- said it will first hear petitioners' and the nature and tenability of the preliminary objection will depend upon the canvas which the petitioners would open up.
The Chief Justice told Mehta: "I am sorry Mr. Solicitor, we are in charge. You cannot dictate how we will conduct the proceedings."
"I have never allowed this in my court," he added.
Emphasising that he never dictated to courts, Mehta said this is a sensitive issue, and "We may have to consider what would be the stand of the government on further participation in this debate".
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The bench told Mehta to trust it to have a broader perspective, and he said he trusts the court.
During the hearing, Mehta sought time to consider to what extent the government would like to participate in the matter. At this juncture, the bench asked: "Are you saying you do not want to participate?" Mehta said, "I will not go that far", and clarified that he never meant that the government will not participate in the proceedings.
Mehta further argued that when the subject is on the concurrent list then in that case one state may favour it and another state disagree with it, cannot be ruled out and urged the court to involve states in the matter.
"None of us knows what are the views of a farmer in south India, a businessman in the north east. This will have social and other ramifications," he argued.
After hearing Mehta's submissions, the bench proceeded with hearing petitioners' counsel in the matter.
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