LE Staff

Chandigarh, July 12, 2021: Granting police protection to a couple living together without being married, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that those above the age of 18 years are entitled to live-in relationships and to protection of their life and liberty against any harm.

The High Court’s remarks came in response to a petition filed by a couple from Punjab’s Mohali district, both above 18 years of age. They told the court that they fell in love and are now living together. The petitioners said the man has not yet attained the marriageable age of 21 years and they will solemnize their marriage as and when he attains the said age.

The pair, however, contended that their families were against their relationship and had given them the threat that both of them would be killed for the sake of family prestige. The petitioners said they had made a representation before the Punjab police for protection of their life and liberty but no action was taken on the same.

A bench of Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi, while hearing arguments in the case,  placed its reliance in the Supreme Court order in Nandakumar and another Vs. State of Kerala where in petitioner Thushara aged 19 years solemnized marriage with Nandakumar, who was less than 21 years of age.

Thushara ‘s father filed a habeas corpus petition which was allowed by the Kerala High Court on the grounds that since Nandakumar was not of marriageable age, Thushara was not his legally wedded wife and gave custody to her father.

On appeal, the Supreme Court set aside the order of the High Court and held that Thushara and Nandakumar being major had a right to live together even outside wedlock in a live-in relationship.

“In the present case the petitioners being major are entitled to live together in live-in-relationship and are also entitled to protection of their life and liberty against any harm from their family members,” stated Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi.  

“In view of the above discussion, the petition is disposed of with direction to Senior Superintendent of Police, District Mohali to look into the grievances of the petitioners as set out in the petition and also expressed in the representation and take appropriate action for protection of their life and liberty as may be warranted by the circumstances,” the HC directed.

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