Opposing same-sex marriage, the Centre told the Delhi High Court on Feb 25 that marriage in India is not just a union of two individuals but an institution between biological man and woman.
The centre said that any interpretation other than treating a husband as a biological man and a wife as a biological woman will make all statutory provisions unworkable.
"Living together as partners or in a relationship with a same-sex individual is not comparable with the Indian family unit concept of a husband, wife and children," the government said, arguing that the institution of marriage has a "sanctity".
"In our country, despite statutory recognition of the relationship of marriage between a biological man and a biological woman, marriage necessarily depends upon age-old customs, societal values," the centre said.
The government also said that judicial intervention will lead to "complete havoc with the delicate balance of personal laws".
Referring to a Supreme Court judgment, the government said that it only decriminalised certain behaviour and did not legitimise it.
As per the government, "marriage is a socially recognized union of two individuals which is governed either by uncodified personal laws or codified statutory laws."
"The acceptance of the institution of marriage between two individuals of the same gender is neither recognized nor accepted in any uncodified personal laws or any codified statutory laws," the government mentioned in its affidavit filed in response to a plea by an activist seeking recognition of same-sex marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA) and the Special Marriage Act (SMA).
"The question as to whether such a relationship be permitted to be formalised by way of a legal recognition of marriage is essentially a question to be decided by the legislature and can never be a subject matter of judicial adjudication," the government said.
In response to a plea by two women seeking to get married under the SMA, the Delhi government, in its response to a similar petition filed earlier, said that there is no provision in the SMA under which two women can be married.
The plea contended that marriages between same-sex couples are not possible despite the SC decriminalising it.
"In India marriage is not just a matter of union of two individuals but a solemn institution between a biological man and a biological woman... Despite the decriminalisation of section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, the petitioners (Mitra and others) cannot claim a fundamental right for same-sex marriage being recognised under the laws of the country," the government said.
The Centre has also rejected claims of the petitioners that the concept of marriage was within the private domains of individuals, and said that marriage also had a public aspect to it as several statutory rights are linked with it.