Who are the former judges opposing same-sex marriage?
A group of 21 former High Court judges issued a statement against the legalization of same-sex marriage. The open letter from the former judges claims that the legalization of same-sex marriage in India will have a devastating impact on society at large.
‘We respectfully urge conscientious members of society, including those who are investigating the issue of same-sex marriage in the Supreme Court, to refrain from doing so in the best interest of Indian society and culture,’ read the statement.
‘We are a group of ex-judges, the conscientious and concerned citizens of India, exasperated and distraught by the continuing attack on the basic tenets of the Bharatiya marriage traditions and family system by vested interest groups, we write to you to call your attention to one of those issues: the legalization of same-sex marriage,’ the letter said.
The letter said that the issue is being considered by the Supreme Court and has gained momentum in the recent past in the country after being referred to a Constitutional Court.
Furthermore, they stressed that the nation’s people who come from various strata of society across regional and religious lines are deeply shocked by this Western-tinged perspective that is superimposed on Bharatiya society and culture to weaken the family system.
They added, ‘Both marriage and the family system in India are sui generis. They opined that legalizing same-sex marriage will attack the very root of the family system and thus have a devastating impact on society at large.’
List of former judges opposing same-sex marriage
Justice S. N. Jha, who retired as Chief Justice of Rajasthan in 2005, has held various government posts since then. He served as Chairman of the Court of Customs, Excise and Income Tax almost immediately after his retirement and served as Chairman of the Bihar Human Rights Commission from 2008 to 2013.
Justice M. M. Kumar retired as chief justice of the Jammu and Kashmir high court in January 2015. The previous year, Kumar had been placed on a list of ‘uncle judges’ in the high court of Punjab and Haryana.
Justice SM Soni, a retired Gujarat high court judge and former Lokayukta, seems to be a serial writer of open letters. In August 2012, Soni wrote a letter to the then Chief Justice of India accusing Supreme Court Justice Aftab Alam of having a “community mentality”.
S. N. Dhingra
Justice S. N. Dhingra had also signed the July 2022 letter in reference to Nupur Sharma. He has had various government assignments after his 2011 removal from the Delhi High Court. The Haryana government appointed Dhingra to a one-man commission in 2015 to investigate Robert Vadra’s land deals.
Raghuvendra Singh Rathore
Justice Raghuvendra Singh Rathore served as a judge in the high court of Rajasthan. Rathore had to face the embarrassment of the High Court ordering that his daughter, whom he had confined in his house, be allowed to marry his mistress.
Justice K.K. Trivedi, a former Madhya Pradesh high court judge, has been appointed to various bodies after his retirement, from the gender-sensitivity complaints committee to heading a committee investigating a report card scam and another investigating wrongdoing finances at a medical school in the state.
Judge Karamchand Puri, a retired Punjab and Haryana high court judge, was authorized by the Center in 2016 to take charge of the Srinagar-Jammu court of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), the body that hears all cases related to with the defense forces.
The Modi government approved the appointment of Justice M.C. Garg, a former judge of the Delhi and Madhya Pradesh high courts, as the chairperson of the Appellate Authority. This government forum is responsible for addressing complaints against chartered accountants and other related matters. Justice M.C. Garg was known to be a strong advocate of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, a policy supported by Union home minister Amit Shah.
In March 2021, Justice P.N. Ravindran revealed his alignment with Bharatiya traditions when he joined the BJP to combat what he referred to as ‘instances of love jihad’ by the Hindu and Christian communities. Justice Ravindran, who served as a judge in the Kerala high court from 2007 to 2018, stated that he joined the BJP to protest the state government’s stance on the Sabarimala temple issue, which he felt was contrary to the sentiments of Hindus.
Judge Sunil Hali, a former judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and Allahabad Court, was appointed by the Modi government just a fortnight ago as Chairman of the Jammu Tariff and Regulation Committee. He took office on March 31 and will serve for three years.
Rajiv Lochan Mehrotra
Justice Rajiv Lochan Mehrotra, who retired from the Allahabad High Court in 2018, appeared in Goa as the Goa Cricket Association Ombudsman, a position he holds to date.
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