Supreme Court Defers Review of Same-Sex Marriage Verdict Due to Justice’s Recusal

The Supreme Court has postponed the review of its landmark decision on same-sex marriage after Justice Sanjiv Khanna, a newly appointed member of the five-judge bench, recused himself due to personal difficulties. This decision to defer the consideration of the review petitions comes after the court’s previous judgement in October 2023, which denied legal recognition to same-sex marriage. The Chief Justice of India, D.Y. Chandrachud, will now reconstitute the bench to hear the case.

Initially, the five-judge bench, comprising CJI Chandrachud, Justices Sanjiv Khanna, Hima Kohli, B.V. Nagarathna, and P.S. Narasimha, were scheduled to hear the review petitions on Wednesday, July 10. The original bench included Justices S.K. Kaul and S. Ravindra Bhat, who have since retired and been replaced by Justices Sanjiv Khanna and B.V. Nagarathna.

A number of petitions have been filed seeking a review of the October 2023 verdict, which refused to accord legal recognition to same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court previously refused to hold an open court hearing on the review petitions, stating that the constitution bench review is conducted in chambers.

One of the prominent review petitions was filed by advocates Karuna Nundy and Ruchira Goel, challenging the majority judgment that rejected petitions seeking legal recognition for same-sex and queer marriage.

The Supreme Court delivered four separate judgments on October 17, 2023, regarding the issue of same-sex marriage. While a majority of the judges, including Justices S.R. Bhat, Hima Kohli, and P.S. Narasimha, denied legal recognition, Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice S.K. Kaul delivered minority judgments.

The deferral of the review process has further delayed the resolution of the same-sex marriage issue in India, with advocates and activists continuing to push for legal recognition of same-sex unions.

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