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5-judge Constitution Bench to decide fate of same-sex marriages from April 18, proceedings to be live-streamed: Supreme Court

A five-judge Constitution bench will decide upon legalizing same-sex marriages in India on April 18 and proceedings of the hearing will be streamed live as the issue of “seminal importance”, the Supreme Court said on Monday

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same-sex marriages

A five-judge Constitution bench will decide upon legalizing same-sex marriages in India on April 18 and proceedings of the hearing will be streamed live as the issue of “seminal importance”, the Supreme Court said on Monday.

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha, and Justice JB Pardiwala, which today heard the combined pleas seeking the legalization of the gay marriages under the Special Marriage Act in the country said that a constitution bench of five judges would on April 18 further decide the fate of such matrimonies.

Noting that the issue was of “seminal importance” and any decision on the same would have a huge impact on the Indian society and will impact entire social fabric as a whole, the apex court noted Article 145(3) mandates that such a matter of law, which requires interpreting the constitution, must be decided by a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court.

The Centre has opposed the pleas arguing that gay marriages are incompatible with the “Indian family unit” consisting of a husband, a wife and their children which inevitably presupposes a biological man as a ‘husband’, a biological woman as a ‘wife’ and the children born out of the wedlock reared by the biological man as father and the biological woman as mother.

The BJP-led central government, in its affidavit filed before the top court, said that the petitioners cannot claim a fundamental right for same-sex marriage to be recognised under Indian laws despite consensual gay being decriminalized in the Supreme Court’s landmark 2018 judgement.

The government further argued that legalizing gay marriages would wreck the delicate balance between personal laws and accepted societal values in the country. Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, Monday, noted that the institution of marriage is a matter of policy, even though doesn’t disturb personal freedom and activities of individuals.

Representing the Centre, Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta argued that giving legal status to gay marriages would trigger legal issues as marriage is a contract between a biological male and biological female in every major religion, not just among Hindus, but also in Islam.

The Centre’s council raised the legal status of adoption by a gay couple saying that the Parliament will have to examine will of the people and child’s and decide whether it can be raised in a such environment.

He said that the Parliament will have to factor in societal ethos while taking such a decision.

However, CJI Chandrachud retorted that the adopted child of a gay or lesbian couple does not have to be a gay or lesbian solicitor.

On January 6, the apex court had transferred and clubbed to itself, all such pleas pending in different high courts, including the Delhi High Court.

In its January 6 order, it had asked Advocate Arundhati Katju—representing the petitioners—and the Central government’s counsel, to prepare together a common compilation of the written submissions, documents and precedents on which reliance would be placed during the course of the hearing.

The petitioners’ counsel had requested the Supreme Court bench to transfer all such cases itself for an authoritative pronouncement on the issue and that the Centre can file its response in the top court.

Earlier, on January 3, the Supreme Court had said it would hear on January 6 the pleas seeking a transfer of petitions for recognition of same-sex marriages pending before the high courts to the top court.

The Supreme Court had in December last year sought the Centre’s response to two pleas seeking a transfer of the petitions pending in the Delhi High Court for directions to recognize same-sex marriages to itself.

Earlier on November 25 last year, the top court had sought the Centre’s response to separate pleas moved by two gay couples seeking enforcement of their right to marry and a direction to the authorities concerned to register their marriages under the Special Marriage Act.

A bench headed by CJI Chandrachud, who was also part of the Constitution bench that decriminalised consensual gay sex in its 2018 landmark judgement, issued a notice to the Centre in November last year, besides seeking Attorney General R Venkataramani’s assistance in dealing with the pleas.

The petitions have sought a direction that the right to marry a person of one’s choice be extended to LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) people as part of their fundamental right. One petition seeks a reinterpretation of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 in a gender-neutral manner where a person is not discriminated against due to his sexual orientation.

On September 2018, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, issued a landmark judgement wherein it decriminalized consensual gay sex among adults. It struck down a part of the British-era penal law under Article 377, on grounds that it violated the constitutional right to equality and dignity.

In its pathbreaking judgement, the apex court ruled that section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that criminalised consensual gay sex was “irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary”. The top court had said that the 158-year-old law had become an “odious weapon” to harass the LGBTQ community by subjecting its members to discrimination and unequal treatment.

India News

Rajya Sabha Election: Congress wins 3 seats in Karnataka, BJP 1

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister CM DK Shivakumar said this shows the unity and integrity of Congress. He thanked all the MLAs, party workers and the media. He said he is very happy that all the candidates from Congress won. He thanked all the voters, chief minister and the party workers and the AICC president also.

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The ruling Congress in Karnataka won three seats and the BJP one in the Rajya Sabha elections in Karnataka on Tuesday. The candidates who were selected to Rajya Sabha are Syed Naseer Hussain, GC Chandrasekhar and Ajay Maken who belong to the Congress, and Narayansa K Bhandage of the BJP.

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister CM DK Shivakumar said this shows the unity and integrity of Congress. He thanked all the MLAs, party workers and the media. He said he is very happy that all the candidates from Congress won. He thanked all the voters, chief minister and the party workers and the AICC president also. He said he would like to thank Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge.

Congress candidates Naseer Hussain and former union minster Ajay Maken won with 47 votes, while GC Chandrasekhar secured 45 votes. The BJP won 1 Rajya Sabha seat from Karnataka with candidate Narayansa Bhandage securing 47 votes.

Each Rajya Sabha candidate needed at least 45 votes in the 224-MLA Karnataka Assembly to win a Rajya Sabha seat from the state. With 135 MLAs, the Congress had the exact number to elect its three candidates. The BJP has 66 MLAs, which secured a comfortable win for party worker Narayansa Bhandage.

The Rajya Sabha seats fell vacant following the retirement of 4 members – Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar (BJP) and Congress’s GC Chandrashekhar, Syed Naseer Hussain and L Hanumanthaiah

5 candidates contested for the 4 Rajya Sabha seats in the elections, including JD(S) contestant D Kupendra Reddy. The elections were marred by cross-voting. One of the BJP MLAs, ST Somasekhar voted for the Congress’s Maken, the other, A Shivaram Hebbar, abstained. Leader of Opposition R Ashoka said they would seek action against Somahekhar, and termed the MLA’s decision political suicide. Soon after voting, Somashekhar told the media that he voted as per his conscience.  

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Entertainment

Karan Johar hails Anant Ambani’s Vantara initiative, here’s more about the project

Reliance Industries and Reliance Foundation announced the launch of Vantara on Monday.

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Karan Johar thanked Anant Ambani for his new initiative, Vantara, on his Instagram post today. KJo discussed the program and the Ambani family’s deep-rooted passion for animals in this post.

Taking to Instagram, the Kuch Kuch Hota Hai-director shared a video and said, with its foundation in a profound love for animals and wildlife in general, Anant Ambani’s Vantara effort only serves to confirm his faith in his compassion and commitment for the cause. Karan Johar also said Anant Ambani never dose anything half-hearted as he gave the world a more heart-ful space.

The Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahani director said Vantara is not only about saving and caring for animals; it also strives to give them the greatest possible rehabilitation. The Vantara initiative, recently introduced by Reliance Industries and Reliance Foundation, is dedicated to the rescue, medical attention, and rehabilitation of hurt, mistreated, and endangered animals, both domestically and overseas. The filmmaker extended his love and support to the entire Reliance group and also thanked them again for providing a safe space for wildlife.

What is Vantara Initiative?

On Monday, Reliance Industries and Reliance Foundation announced the launch of Vantara, a broad program designed to save, caring for, treat, and rehabilitate wounded abused, and threatened animals both domestically and worldwide.

The project is regarded as the largest animal rescue and rehabilitation center in the world. It was the idea of Anant Ambani,who is on the boards of Reliance Industries and Reliance Foundation.

Located across 3,000 acres, the animal refuge is situated in the Green Belt of Reliance’s Jamnagar Refinery Complex and features a jungle-like environment that mimics the natural, enriching, lush and verdant habitat for the rescued species to thrive in. It is said that more than 2,000 rescued animals have been transported to the facility from all around the world and the country.

Meanwhile, Anant Ambani soon-to-be wife Radhika Merchant is also involved in this initiative.

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India News

Prime Minister Narendra Modi says BJP will win 10 seats or more from Kerala in Lok Sabha elections

The Prime Minister said during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Kerala gave a two digit vote share for the BJP but this time the party will win 2 digit seats from Kerala. He added the opposition parties have realised their defeat in the elections of 2024. PM Modi said they have lost their mental balance. He said the opposition parties do not have a roadmap for the country’s development.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Thiruvanthpuram on Tuesday that the BJP would win double-digit seats from Kerala in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The Prime Minister was addressing a rally of BJP workers to mark the conclusion of a month-long, state-wide padyatra led by party state president K Surendran.

The Prime Minister said during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Kerala gave a two digit vote share for the BJP but this time the party will win 2 digit seats from Kerala. He added the opposition parties have realised their defeat in the elections of 2024. PM Modi said they have lost their mental balance. He said the opposition parties do not have a roadmap for the country’s development.

He said their only agenda is to utter abuses against Modi. He said he is confident that Kerala will stand with him this time. This has been the prime minister’s third visit to Kerala in less than 2 months. The prime minister said the huge crowd that had joined the Surendran-led padyatra has made the BJPs target of 370 seats in the Lok Sabha easier.

The Prime Minister said he is committed to fulfill the expectations of people and this is Modi’s guarantee. He said the BJP-led union government has never shown any discrimination towards Kerala. He said in the last 10 years the BJP-led central government has ensured Kerala’s development and the wise people of the state know this.

PM Modi predicted that in the third term of the BJP government, India will become the largest force in the world and this is Modi’s Guarantee. He said the third Modi government will increase its fight against corruption. He added in the last 10 years, more than 25 crore people have been brought out of poverty. The Prime Minister referred to various development projects and schemes which have been launched during the BJP rule at the centre. 

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