Important Legal News | 17th October

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Supreme Court Denies Legal Recognition for Same-Sex Marriages, Proposes Government Committee for Queer Union Rights

In a significant ruling, the Supreme Court of India has declined to recognize same-sex marriages, stating that this matter falls within the legislative domain. Nevertheless, the Court has urged the Union Government to form a committee to investigate the rights and entitlements of individuals in queer unions, despite the absence of legal recognition as marriages.

All the judges on the bench unanimously affirmed the right of queer couples to cohabit without fear of violence or interference. However, they refrained from formalizing these relationships as marriages.

While there was some disagreement among the judges, Chief Justice DY Chandrachud held that the freedom of the queer community to form unions is constitutionally protected. The Court’s decision marks a milestone in the ongoing legal battle for LGBTQIA+ rights in India.

Supreme Court Rules Against Adoption Rights for Queer Couples in Marriage Equality Case, Split Decision 3:2

In a landmark decision on the Marriage Equality Case, the Supreme Court of India has refused to grant legal recognition for same-sex marriages and, by a split 3:2 majority, denied the right of adoption to queer couples. Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice SK Kaul held that unmarried and queer couples should have the right to adopt, criticizing the Central Adoption Resource Authority’s (CARA) Regulation 5(3) as unconstitutional for discriminating against queer couples.

However, Justices Ravindra Bhat, Hima Kohli and PS Narasimha disagreed, upholding CARA regulations and emphasizing the state’s role in ensuring stable homes for children in need. This decision marks a significant development in the ongoing fight for LGBTQIA+ rights in India.

Delhi High Court: Equal Earnings of Spouses Negate Interim Maintenance for Wife

The Delhi High Court has ruled that interim maintenance cannot be granted to a wife under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, when both spouses possess the same qualifications and earn equally. Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Neena Bansal Krishna clarified that the purpose of Section 24 is to prevent either spouse from facing financial constraints during matrimonial proceedings.

In a case where both spouses are equally qualified and have equal earnings, the court stated that the goal is not to equalize their incomes or provide interim maintenance to maintain a similar lifestyle. The judgment was delivered in response to two appeals involving child maintenance and the wife’s request for personal support.

The court ultimately reduced the interim child maintenance to ₹25,000 per month due to the income of both spouses and the shared responsibility of supporting the child.

Calcutta High Court Issues Guidelines for Media in School Jobs Scam Coverage

The Calcutta High Court has issued guidelines for media reporting on the school jobs for cash scam, a case involving Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee. The Court emphasized the importance of accurate, objective and well-supported reporting. Among the directions, it cautioned against the leak of information regarding ongoing investigations to the media by central agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

The guidelines also stipulate that media reports should distinguish news from opinion pieces, ensure accuracy, attribute information to verified sources and refrain from linking individuals to ongoing probes before the filing of a chargesheet. Additionally, it prohibits live video broadcasting of search and seizure operations and emphasizes the need for clear authorship in articles that cast aspersions on individuals.

The Court also directed probe agencies, including the ED, to avoid leaking information about investigations to the media, not involve the media in operations and withhold prior information from them. These guidelines will be in effect until January 15, 2024 or until further orders, with final arguments scheduled for December 2023.

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