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"Why Marriage Not Ended Legitimately?": P&H High Court Questions Man Who Is In Live In Relation After Wife Allegedly Deserts Him

Sparsh Upadhyay
20 Jun 2021 7:15 AM GMT
Why Marriage Not Ended Legitimately?: P&H High Court Questions Man Who Is In Live In Relation After Wife Allegedly Deserts Him
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The Punjab & Haryana High Court last week questioned a man as to why he didn't legitimately end his matrimonial alliance from his wife, after he (and his female live-in partner) filed a protection plea and claimed that he has been compelled to provide motherly care to his children since his wife has deserted him. The Bench of Justice Arun Monga observed that his inaction...

The Punjab & Haryana High Court last week questioned a man as to why he didn't legitimately end his matrimonial alliance from his wife, after he (and his female live-in partner) filed a protection plea and claimed that he has been compelled to provide motherly care to his children since his wife has deserted him.

The Bench of Justice Arun Monga observed that his inaction to legitimately end his matrimonial alliance from the biological mother of his children, indicated a lack of bona fides on his part.

However, in order to avoid any possibility of the female partner being put to any unnecessary perils and/or having been misled by the Man, the Court ordered protection to the female live-in partner (petitioner number 2/a widow).

"It would be a travesty of justice in case she has to suffer any risk to her life and/or liberty and therefore, she deserves to be protected to that extent," said the Court.

The matter in brief

Petitioners (Man-Woman in Live In Relation) claimed to be in live-in-relationship, sought directions to protect their lives and liberty apprehending threat from the parents and relatives of female partner (petitioner No.2), who are stated to be not happy with their relationship.

Petitioner No.1 (male partner) submitted that though he was married, his wife had deserted him to live with another partner.

He also stated that out of his wedlock, he has two children i.e. son aged 19 years old and daughter aged 16 years old, who are in his custody. \

While on the other hand, the female partner (petitioner No.2) submitted that she is a widow and out of her wedlock she too is blessed with two children i.e. two sons aged 12 years and 7 years, respectively.

Their counsel submitted that the live-in-relationship was merely for the sake of better upbringing of the four children and thus, both the petitioners decided to live under the same roof for providing them better co-parenting.

Significantly, the Court remarked thus:

"While the intention of both the petitioners may have been noble, one doesn't know though, but what seems to be incongruous on the part of petitioner No.1 is that he has taken no steps till date to file appropriate matrimonial proceedings seeking divorce on the ground of desertion and/or otherwise as provided under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955."

In the premise, the Court ordered, no grounds to interfere are made out.

However, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Sri Muktsar Sahib, District Sri Muktsar Sahib, was ordered to look into the threat perception of petitioner No.2 (female partner/widow).

It was directed that if the case so warrants, she be provided with the mobile number of a lady police official to whom she can approach, in case of any untoward incident at odd hours, in case, she feels any threat to her life.

In a significant move, the Punjab & Haryana High Court recently referred to a larger bench, the question as to whether the Court is required to grant protection to two persons living together, without examining their marital status and the other circumstances of that case?

The Bench of Justice Anil Kshetarpal also added, If the answer to the above is in the negative, what are the circumstances in which the Court can deny them protection?

The Court referred the matter to a larger bench on the view of the fact that various benches of the Court, of co-ordinate strength, have formed different opinions on the matter concerned, which, according to the court, cannot be easily reconciled.

Case title - Nirbhey Singh and another v. State of Punjab and others

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