As the Supreme Court hears pleas seeking legal sanction for same-sex marriages, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju on Wednesday said an important matter like the institution of marriage has to be decided by the people of the country and that courts are not the forum to settle such issues.
He, however, clarified that he does not want to make the matter a "government versus judiciary" issue. "It is not. Not," the minister asserted.
Responding to a question at the Republic TV conclave, he said, "It is a matter which concerns every citizen of India. It is the question of people's will. The will of the people is reflected in Parliament or the legislature or assemblies..."
Referring to the Constitution bench of the top court hearing the matter, Rijiju said, "If five wise men decide something correct according to them -- I cannot make any kind of adverse comments against them -- But if people do not want it, you cannot impose things on the people...,".
Same-sex partners from around the country have approached the Supreme Court with a plea stating that same-sex marriages should be legalised under the Special Marriage Act.
The law minister further said that sensitive and important matters like the institution of marriage have to be decided by the people of the country.
The Supreme Court has the power to issue certain directions. Under Article 142, it can also make laws. If it feels some vacuum has to be filled, it can do so with certain provisions, he pointed out.
"But when it comes to a matter which affects every citizen of the country, SC is not the forum to decide on behalf of the people of the country," Rijiju added.
The Centre on Wednesday requested the apex court to consider leaving questions raised in the pleas seeking legal sanction for same-sex marriages to Parliament.
Appearing for the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud that the court is dealing with a "very complex subject", which has a "profound social impact".