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Person Involved In Live-In Relation Without Obtaining Divorce From Spouse May Face Bigamy Charge: P&H High Court

Sparsh Upadhyay
4 Nov 2021 9:51 AM GMT
Person Involved In Live-In Relation Without Obtaining Divorce From Spouse May Face Bigamy Charge: P&H High Court
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The Punjab & Haryana High Court recently observed that if a married person is in live-in-relationship, without obtaining a divorce from his/her spouse, then that may amount to an offence under 494 of the Indian Penal Code (Bigamy).The Bench of Justice Ashok Kumar Verma observed thus while dealing with a plea filed by a woman, along with her partner, who was in a live-in relationship...

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The Punjab & Haryana High Court recently observed that if a married person is in live-in-relationship, without obtaining a divorce from his/her spouse, then that may amount to an offence under 494 of the Indian Penal Code (Bigamy).

The Bench of Justice Ashok Kumar Verma observed thus while dealing with a plea filed by a woman, along with her partner, who was in a live-in relationship without obtaining a divorce from her husband.

Essentially, petitioners (Woman and her partner) approached the Court seeking issuance of directions to respondents No.1 to 3 to protect their life and liberty at the hands of private respondents, submitting that they are in live-in-relationship against the wishes of the private respondents.

The Court, perusing the case records, observed that petitioner No.1 (Harpreet Kaur) aged about 23 years is legally wedded wife of respondent No.4 (Gurjant Singh), and without seeking a divorce from her spouse, she is living a lustful and adulterous life with petitioner No.2.

In view of this, stressing that such a relationship does not fall within the phrase "live-in relationship" or "relationship" in the nature of marriage, the Court observed thus:

"Once petitioner No.1 is a married woman being the wife of respondent No.4-Gurjant Singh, the act of petitioners particularly petitioner No.1 (erroneously written in the order as petitioner number 2) may constitute an offense under Sections 494/495 IPC".

Further, noting that the instant petition had been filed just to obtain a seal of the Court on their so-called live-in-relationship, the Court added thus:

"Petitioners have no legal right for protection on the facts of the present case inasmuch as the protection as being asked may amount to protection against the commission of offence under Section 494/495 IPC. "

Last month, the Punjab & Haryana High Court had dismissed a protection plea filed by a live-in couple observing that they both are in living a lustful and adulterous life with each other without obtaining a divorce from their respective spouses.

The Bench of Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan was dealing with a plea filed by a live-in couple who submitted that they both are in love with each other for the last so many years and are in a live-in relationship for the last one month.

In related news, denying police protection to a widow, who was living with a married man, the Rajasthan High Court had recently observed that such a relationship between the petitioners doesn't come under the purview of a legal Live-in relationship and rather, such relationships are 'Purely Illegal' and 'Anti-Social'.

Observing that live-in-relationship cannot be at the cost of the social fabric of this Country¸the Allahabad High Court recently dismissed the protection plea of a married woman living with her partner with an exemplary cost of Rs.5,000.

Calling her live-in relationship with her partner an illicit relationship, the Bench of Justice Dr. Kaushal Jayendra Thaker and Justice Subhash Chand had observed thus:

"Directing the police to grant protection to them may indirectly give our assent to such illicit relations"

However, the Punjab & Haryana High Court had expressed its disagreement with the Allahabad HC's and had held that no offence would be made out if being adults, two people are in a live-in relationship with each other, even though they are already married to someone else.

Case title - Harpreet Kaur and another v. State of Punjab and others

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