Underlining that “genuine human concerns” of queer couples will be addressed administratively, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had told the Supreme Court in May that the Centre will set up a high-level committee to look into the issue.
These administrative “concerns” range from allowing a same-sex couple to jointly open a bank account to ensuring the right to access the remains of the spouse from the natal family.
Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud in his minority opinion on Tuesday noted Mehta’s assurance that the Central Government will constitute a committee chaired by the Cabinet Secretary to “define and elucidate” the scope of entitlements of queer couples in unions.
The SC said the panel shall include experts with domain knowledge and experience in dealing with the social, psychological and emotional needs of persons belonging to the queer community.
The CJI said the committee, before finalising its decision, shall conduct a wide stakeholder consultation with persons belonging to queer community, including those from marginalised groups and also state governments and Union Territories.
The panel is required to consider enabling the partners in queer relationships to be treated as part of the same family to avail ration cards and facility of joint bank account, with option to name partners as nominee in case of death of either person.
The panel report shall be implemented at the administrative level by the Centre, state governments and UTs, the CJI noted.
S-G Mehta, during the hearing in May, had that the Centre will form such a panel to examine suggestions by the LGBTQIA community related to issues faced by them in cohabitation with persons of the same gender.
The five-judge bench had termed it a “very fair suggestion” and had remarked that it will be a “substantial advancement” from the present status.
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