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Social Acceptance For Live-In-Relationships On Rise, No Difference Between Married & Live In Couple Seeking Protection: Punjab & Haryana HC

Sparsh Upadhyay
20 May 2021 5:45 AM GMT
Social Acceptance For Live-In-Relationships On Rise, No Difference Between Married & Live In Couple Seeking Protection: Punjab & Haryana HC
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In a significant ruling, the Punjab & Haryana High Court on Tuesday (May 18) 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...

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In a significant ruling, the Punjab & Haryana High Court on Tuesday (May 18) 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.

Significantly, the Court observed,

"The Constitutional Courts grant protection to couples, who have married against the wishes of their respective parents. They seek the protection of life and liberty from their parents and family members, who disapprove of the alliance. An identical situation exists where the couple has entered into a live-in-relationship. The only difference is that the relationship is not universally accepted. Would that make any difference?"

The Court further observed that there was no difference as the couple fear for their safety from relatives in both situations and not from the society and thus, they are entitled to the same relief

The Court also observed the Right to life and liberty is enshrined in the Constitution of India and that the said right includes the right of an individual to the full development of his/her potential in accordance with his/her choice and wish and for such purpose, he/she is entitled to choose a partner of his/her choice.

The Court also noted that the concept of live-in-relationships crept into the society from western nations and initially, found acceptance in the metropolitan cities, probably because, individuals felt that formalization of a relationship through marriage was not necessary for complete fulfillment.

Noting that Education played a great role in the development of this concept, the Court added that slowly, the concept has percolated into small towns and villages also as is evident from this petition. This shows that social acceptance for live-in-relationships is on the increase.

Importantly, the Court remarked,

"In law, such a relationship is not prohibited nor does it amount to commission of any offence and thus, in my considered view such persons are entitled to equal protection of laws as any other citizen of the country. The law postulates that the life and liberty of every individual is precious and must be protected irrespective of individual views."

Lastly, noting that no citizen can be permitted to take the law in his own hands in a country governed by Rule of Law, the Court disposed of the plea with a direction to respondent No.2 to consider their representation and to provide appropriate protection to them, if found necessary.

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)."

Further, In yet another order denying protection to a live-in couple, the Punjab and Haryana High Court last week refused protection to a live-in couple who approached the Court after they faced opposition to their relationship.

Justice HS Madaan, in a terse order, charged the couple with approaching the Court so as to obtain a seal of approval on their "morally and socially not acceptable" relationship.

"As a matter of fact, the petitioners in the garb of filing the present petition are seeking seal of approval on their live-in-relationship, which is morally and socially not acceptable and no protection order in the petition can be passed."

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