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    Panel to be established in New Delhi to address issues faced by same-sex couples

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    The Indian government has told the Supreme Court that it will set up a committee to address the “genuine humane concerns” of same-sex couples. The committee will be headed by the Cabinet Secretary and will examine administrative steps that can be taken without legalising same-sex marriage. The court had asked whether social welfare benefits, such as joint bank accounts and nomination of life partners in provident funds, could be granted to same-sex couples. The Centre’s solicitor general said that the government was positive and that a committee would be formed, subject to the court’s approval.

    The court was hearing arguments for the seventh day on a batch of petitions seeking legal validation of same-sex marriage. The solicitor general invited petitioners to offer suggestions or raise problems that the committee could address. The court suggested that the attorneys for both sides should meet to discuss the issues. A senior advocate for one of the petitioners said that while suggestions could be made, there were substantial issues involved, and it would be better for the court to decide the matter.

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