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Supreme Court Orders Protection To Couple Who Were Denied Relief By P&H HC Observing 'Live-In Relation Is Socially & Morally Unacceptable'

Sparsh Upadhyay
6 Jun 2021 11:26 AM GMT
Punjab & Haryana High Court, Pleas By Live In Couple, Rarely Founded Actual or Real Existence Threat, Consume Courts Time, Protection Plea, Child Marriage, Live In Relationship, Live In relation,
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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.

Importantly, the Court remarked and ordered"

"Needless to state that since it concerns life and liberty, the Superintendent of Police is required to act expeditiously in accordance with law, including the grant of any protection to the petitioners in view of the apprehensions/ threats, uninfluenced by the observations of the High Court."

The Punjab and Haryana High Court last month 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, charge 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"
With this remark, the High Court dismissed their prayer for protection.

In a significant move, the Punjab & Haryana High Court 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?

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 - GURWINDER SINGH & ANR. v. THE STATE OF PUNJAB & ORS.

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