Read Order: Rohit Kumar v. State of U.T. Chandigarh and Others

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, March 15, 2022: While dealing with protection pleas of live-in-couples, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has reflected light on the problem of adolescents between the ages of 18 and 21 years, who are in live-in relationships, coming up to the High Court seeking protection of their life and liberty 

The Bench of Justice Amol Rattan Singh has said that no Act governs any such relationship and once a person has attained majority in terms of the Majority Act, 1875, (i.e. 18 years of age), it would be difficult for a court to refuse such protection. 

Therefore, Justice Singh directed the Union of India (in the Ministry concerned) to file a response to the aforesaid predicament, by way of an affidavit of at least a Joint Secretary to the Government of India, in the Ministry concerned, as to what is proposed, to try and ensure that many adolescents with impressionable minds (not actually fully matured though they otherwise, technically, are of the age of majority in terms of the aforesaid Act), do not start living together and later start regretting such decisions, obviously also causing trauma to their parents and family.

The Court issued the above-stated directions while dealing with a batch of petitions wherein the petitioners were seeking protection of life and liberty upon them being in live-in relationships with each other. 

In one such petition, the petitioner sought protection against the threat posed by the parents of the girl, who was taken away from the company of the petitioner (boy) who approached the High Court. On the previous hearing, the Court directed the Police authorities to facilitate the recording of the statement of the girl-detenue before the concerned Magistrate so as to ascertain whether she was living with her parents out of her free will. The Court directed the detenue to take her documents to establish her claim of majority. The Court also specified the recourse to be taken in case the petitioner and the detenue were found to be minors (contrary to their claims of being adults). 

However, the petitioner’s counsel sought permission to withdraw the petition itself, as the petitioners and the private respondents reached a settlement in the matter, with the petitioners having decided not to live together as yet at least. The said petition was consequently ordered to be dismissed as having been withdrawn, with the affidavit to be filed on behalf of the Union of India, to be so filed in any other connected petition. 

One more petition was dismissed as withdrawn as the matter was settled, and for the other petition, due to the absence of parties and their counsel, the matter was adjourned. 

Also, the Court was informed by the Additional Solicitor General of India that as per his instructions in fact an amendment to the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, has been proposed, with a Bill already produced in Parliament for that purpose, to bring the marriageable age for females also upto 21 years of age (from 18 years), to bring them on par with males. However, as regards live-in relationships, no such bill was introduced so far.

The matter is now adjourned to March 21, 2022. 

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