While the Supreme Court will to decrimnalise consensual same-sex relationships is pretty clear to many, there are important issues to address, such as formulating anti-discrimination laws for private sector, making rape laws gender neutral to incorporate homosexual consensual sex acts, as well as move to recognize same-sex marriage.
With both the adultery and the marital rape issues being now considered by the Court, it is important to acknowledge that the fear of frivolous litigation should not stop protection from being offered to those caught in abusive traps, where they are degraded to the status of a chattel. The questions involve impairment of the rights conferred under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Even as the Justices chided the officials for issuing statements to the press that were out of line, and “highly improper”, “touching upon matters which should have formed the basis of orders to be passed by the court”, the fact of the matter is the second draft of the NRC released on July 30 has opened a Pandora’s Box of uncertainties and communalisation of the bureaucratic exercise, leading to much anxiety among those affected, as well as every concerned citizen of the country.
The advocates for petitioners and interveners seeking decriminalisation of adultery (Section 497 of IPC) said that there is no compelling state interest or a valid rational behind the state to penalise an act of consensual sex between adults; that origin of adultery lies in treating women as property of the man, and that it is in violation of Articles 14, 15 and 21 of Indian Constitution.
Senior advocate Jaising presented that rights of the deity are restricted for to matters, limited to maintenance of properties and the taxation related issues. Jaising held that this principle has been consistently maintained in the Indian legal jurisprudence since the time of Privy Council and the Judicial Committee decisions, so must apply in Sabarimala as well, and shouldn’t infringe upon fundamental rights of women as citizens.
The Supreme Court has held that the purpose of the exercise of the creation of the NRC in the State of Assam was not the determination of which person is an ‘original inhabitant’, but the sole test for inclusion in the NRC is that of citizenship under the Constitution of India and the Citizenship Act 1955. However, the constitutionality of Section 6A of the Citizenship Act 1955 was challenged in 2012 by way of a writ petition under Article 32 in the Supreme Court. The matter is currently pending before a Constitution Bench of five judges.
Whether it is arbitrariness, lack of parity in verification requirements, placing the onus of men’s celibacy on women, treating men as a class of devotees whose interests require greater protection —each and every one of these conclusions requires the ban to be struck down as blatantly unconstitutional.
The Constitution empowers both the legislature and the judiciary to have regulating powers over the personal laws, to bring them up to speed with the times. While it is with great dexterity that such powers should be exercised, it is still a better option than wiping out their existence and imposing a Uniform Civil Code, which comes too close to violation of Article 25, for comfort.
Given the widespread prevalence of lynching in the country now, it is time to introduce federal crimes, which affect the federation and are not to be described as affecting ‘law and order’ but as crimes that are ‘offences against the Constitution’ and hence for which the Union has to take responsibility.
Jaising submitted that the ban on women's entry inside the temple is based upon sex alone, and the discrimination is solely based off physiological factors. She further argued that menstruating women being categorised as a different class is unconstitutional as it lacks constitutional morality.
Jaising emphasises on harmonious interpretation of constitutional provisions, that is, Articles 14, 15, 25 and 26 of the Constitution and stated that the right to manage the affairs in the matter of religion does not encompass the right to ban entry inside a temple.