Live In Relation- "Not For The Court To Judge Couple's Decision To Reside Together Without Sanctity Of Marriage": Punjab & Haryana High Court

Sparsh Upadhyay

7 Jun 2021 4:51 AM GMT

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  • Live In Relation- Not For The Court To Judge Couples Decision To Reside Together Without Sanctity Of Marriage: Punjab & Haryana High Court

    In a significant observation, the Punjab & Haryana High Court has observed that in a case wherein a couple has taken a decision to reside together without the sanctity of marriage then, it is not for the courts to judge them on their decisionThe Bench of Justice Sant Prakash was hearing the plea of the petitioners (Girl aged 17 years and Boy aged 20 years) seeking protection of their life...

    In a significant observation, the Punjab & Haryana High Court has observed that in a case wherein a couple has taken a decision to reside together without the sanctity of marriage then, it is not for the courts to judge them on their decision

    The Bench of Justice Sant Prakash was hearing the plea of the petitioners (Girl aged 17 years and Boy aged 20 years) seeking protection of their life and liberty at the hands of the private respondents, who are none other than the immediate family members of the Girl.

    The parents of the Girl wanted her to marry a person of their choice as they had come to know about her love affair with the Boy (petitioner No. 2). Thus, Girk left her paternal home and started living with the Boy and they have decided to live together till such time as they could solemnize a marriage, i.e. on attaining the marriageable age.

    It was stated before the Court that they have already approached the Senior Superintendent of Police, Bathinda seeking protection at the hands of the private respondents, but there had been no response.

    Assistant Advocate General, Punjab submitted that the couple seeking protection are not married and are in a live-in relationship and that the Coordinate Benches have recently dismissed similar matters, where protection was sought by persons who are in a live-in relationship.

    Court's order

    The Court noted that the petitioners have approached the Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India seeking protection of their life and liberty with a further prayer that they be restrained from interfering in the peaceful live-in relationship of the petitioners.

    Importantly, the Court highlighted that they have not approached the court either seeking permission to marry or for approval of their relationship. 

    Further, the Court remarked.

    "The concept of a live in relationship may not be acceptable to all, but it cannot be said that such a relationship is an illegal one or that living together without the sanctity of marriage constitutes an offence.

    Significantly, the Court also observed:

    "One cannot also lose sight of honour killings which are prevalent in northern parts of India, particularly in parts of States of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Honour killing is a result of people marrying without their family's acceptance, and sometimes for marrying outside their caste or religion. Once an individual, who is a major, has chosen his/her partner, it is not for any other person, be it a family member, to object and cause a hindrance to their peaceful existence. It is for the State at this juncture, to ensure their protection and their personal liberty"

    Lastly, noting that the petitioners have not committed any offence, the Court said that it finds no reason as to why their prayer for grant of protection cannot be acceded to.

    Therefore, the Court said:

    "With due respect to the judgments rendered by the Coordinate Benches, who have denied protection to couples who are in live in relationship, ths court is unable to adopt the same view."

    in related news, Hearing an appeal against the final Judgment and order by Punjab & Haryana High Court which refused to grant protection to the couple observing that the live-in-relationship, which is morally and socially not acceptable and no protection order in the petition can be passed, the Supreme Court on Friday ordered Punjab Police to Grant Protection to the Couple.

    The Bench of Justice Navin Sinha and Justice Ajay Rastogi granted liberty to the petitioners' couple to supplement their representations to the Superintendent of Police.

    Conflicting rulings of Punjab & Haryana High Court

    Even in relation to live-in relationships between two adults, the Punjab & Haryana High Court had, considering the facts of some cases, declined protection to the Petitioners, however, a view contrary to this has also been taken by the Court.

    Recently, Punjab and Haryana High Court has reaffirmed that in protection petitions, questions surrounding the validity of the marriage cannot be a ground for denial of protection of the couple's life and liberty.

    A Single Bench of Justice Jasgurpreet Singh Puri has held,

    "The scope of the present petition is only regarding the protection of life and liberty of the petitioners and, therefore, the validity of the marriage cannot be a ground for denial of such protection."

    Last week, Punjab & Haryana High Court observed that a live-in relationship may not be acceptable to all, but it cannot be said that such a relationship is an illegal one or that living together without the sanctity of marriage constitutes an offence.

    The Bench of Justice Jaishree Thakur observed thus in a matter pertaining to a live-in-relationship couple, who are both major and decided to enter into such a relationship and approached the Court seeking protection of their life and liberty as against the immediate family members the Girl.

    In related news, the Punjab & Haryana High Court on Tuesday (May 18) ruled that an individual has the right to formalize the relationship with the partner through marriage or to adopt the non-formal approach of a live-in relationship.

    The Bench of Justice Sudhir Mittal observed thus in a matter pertaining to a live-in-relationship couple, who are both major and decided to enter into such a relationship as they are sure of their feelings for each other.

    This significant observation from the Punjab & Haryana High Court came days after the High Court refused to grant protection to a live-in couple who allegedly faced threats from the girl's family since their elopement while noting that "if such protection as claimed is granted, the entire social fabric of the society would get disturbed.'"

    The Bench of Justice Anil Kshetarpal, in its order, noted,

    "Petitioner no.1 (Girl) is barely 18 years old whereas petitioner no.2 (Boy) is 21 years old. They claim to be residing together in a live-in relationship and claim protection of their life and liberty from the relatives of petitioner no.1 (Girl)."

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

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