Married Couple Cannot Be Deprived From Seeking Protection Merely Because Marriage Is Void Or Invalid: P&H HC [Read Order]
Right to human life is to be treated on much higher pedestal, regardless of a citizen being minor or a major.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has observed that married couple, even if it is case of invalid or void marriage or absence of any marriage, cannot be deprived of the fundamental right of seeking protection of life and liberty.
A 'runaway' couple, claiming to have got married, had approached the High Court seeking police protection. It was alleged that the parents of the girl threatened them that they will not allow them to live as husband and wife and on finding an occasion they will kill both of them.
While considering the case, the court noticed that the boy is not of marriageable age. The mere fact that the boy is not of marriageable age would not deprive the couple of their fundamental right as envisaged in Constitution of India, being citizens of India, Justice Arun Monga observed.
The court noticed that one of the essential conditions of Hindu Marriage Act is that the bridegroom must be above 21 years and the bride above 18 years. However, at the same time, Section 11 of the Hindu Marriage Act which declares certain marriages, which are in contravention of Section 5 (supra), to be void, but precludes a marriage solemnized in contravention of Sub Section (iii) of Section 5, ibid from the purview of being regarded as void or invalid, the court said.
In the order directing the police to look into the threat perception and to provide necessary protection qua their life and liberty, if deemed fit, the court observed:
The issue in hand, however, is not marriage of the petitioners, but the deprivation of fundamental right of seeking protection of life and liberty. I have no hesitation to hold that Constitutional Fundamental Right under Article 21 of Constitution of India stands on a much higher pedestal. Being sacrosanct under the Constitutional Scheme it must be protected, regardless of the solemnization of an invalid or void marriage or even the absence of any marriage between the parties…
… It is the bounden duty of the State as per the Constitutional obligations casted upon it to protect the life and liberty of every citizen. Right to human life is to be treated on much higher pedestal, regardless of a citizen being minor or a major.