Read Order: Nirbhey Singh and another v. State of Punjab and others 

LE Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 12, 2021: Hearing a plea seeking protection filed by a couple in a live-in relationship, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has allowed security to the woman, a widow, but has declined the man’s request saying he has not yet legitimately ended his previous marriage.

The order came after the petitioners, claiming to be in a live-in-relationship, sought issuance of appropriate directions to protect their lives and liberty apprehending threat from the woman’s parents and relatives who are not happy with their relationship.

On a pointed court query with regard to the status of previous marriage of the live-in partners, the counsel representing them stated that the male partner is married but his wife has deserted him to live with another partner.

From his marriage, he has two children — son aged 19 years and daughter aged 16 years — who are in his custody. On the other hand, the woman is a widow with two sons aged 12 years and 7 years, respectively.

The counsel for the petitioners submitted that the live-in relationship is for the sake of better upbringing of the four children and both petitioners have decided to live under the same roof to provide them better co-parenting.

A Bench of Justice Arun Monga stated that while the intention of both the petitioners may been noble, what seems to be incongruous on the part of the male partner 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.

He claims that he has been compelled to provide motherly care to his children through the female partner in the live-in relationship, since his wife has deserted him. “But from his inaction to legitimately end his matrimonial alliance from the biological mother of his children, there appears to be a lack of bona fides on his part,” the Bench observed.

“In the premise, no grounds to interfere are made out,” the High Court held.

However, allowing police protection to the female partner, a widow, the High Court said in order to avoid any possibility of her being put to any unnecessary perils, it would be a travesty of justice in case she has to suffer any risk to her life or liberty and therefore, she deserves to be protected to that extent.

“Accordingly, respondent No.2 – Senior Superintendent of Police, Sri Muktsar Sahib, District Sri Muktsar Sahib, shall look into the threat perception of petitioner No.2 and in case, so warranted, provide her with 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,” the Bench directed.

It added: “It is clarified that this order shall neither be treated as a stamp to approval by this Court qua the self-proclaimed relationship of the petitioners nor any reflection on the merits of the contentions raised by them in their petition”.

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