[Same-sex marriage] Delhi High Court directs Govt to file 'better affidavit' in response to plea seeking live-streaming of court proceedings

Read Time: 05 minutes

In the batch of petitions seeking recognition of same-sex marriages in the country, before the Delhi High Court today, the petitioner's counsel objected to the response filed by the Union of India to their applications seeking live streaming of the hearing of the case. 

The petitioners' counsel informed the court that after long deliberation the Union of India filed its response which is not on record and contains statements that are demeaning to the rights of same-sex couples including words like "sympathy" and "hallucination". “You may agree or disagree on live streaming but do not demean their rights,” Kaul said.

Taking note of Kaul’s submissions, the bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla came down heavily upon the counsel for the government. Court said, “Your affidavit should not come from the registry and you file it without reading. That does not happen. It is your responsibility to see it and say that there is something objectionable. You are not obliged to file it. Don't do a mindless exercise on this. This should never be done."

Accordingly, Court asked the government to file a fresh response before the next date of the hearing. “Mr. Kaul, who appears for the petitioners submits that in response to the petitioner's applications seeking live streaming of the hearing of these petitions, the respondents filed a reply making highly objectionable comments. The said reply has not come on record. The State official are advised to go through the same and file a better one before the next date,” Court noted while dictating the order.

The Central government has opposed the live-streaming of court proceedings before the High Court in the batch of petitions. The Government filed an affidavit in this regard, however, the same was not on record when the matter came up for hearing today. 

In the said affidavit, the government has argued that neither the matter involves the violation of any fundamental right, nor is it of national importance, and the demand for live-streaming of the court proceedings is mala fide to get unnecessary publicity.

Refusing to proceed with the matter today, the high court adjourned it till August 20 and directed government counsel to file a better affidavit.

Case Title: Abhijit Iyer Mitra Vs. Union of India