On 23rd December, the Punjab and Haryana High Court held that merely because the boy is not of marriageable age (although major), the right of a couple to live together cannot be denied, in case both the partners have attained the age of 18.
The bench headed by Justice Alka Sarin made the above observations during the hearing of a criminal writ petition for enforcement of fundamental rights of the petitioners seeking protection of their life and liberty as enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India at the hands of Respondent Nos.4 to 6.
Issue Before the Court
In the present case, the petitioners before the court have known each other for the last one year and wanted to marry each other. However, when the parents of Petitioner No.1 i.e., the woman became aware of their relationship, fights took place between the families. Through the present plea, the couple sought police protection while citing that their relationship is not acceptable to the family members of the girl and that they are threatening the petitioners with dire consequences.
They added that when the girl’s parents became aware of their relationship, fights took place between the families, and the parents of the girl gave her severe beatings and decided to marry her against her wishes, confined her into a room, snatched her mobile phone and threatened to kill her if she kept any kind of relationship with the boy. The girl then left her home on December 20 to reside with the boy, who since has not attained marriageable age.
It was further contended that the petitioners have also moved a representation to the Senior Superintendent of Police, District Fatehgarh Sahib, Punjab, however, no action took place.
“Parents cannot compel a child to live a life on their terms and that every adult individual has a right to live his or her life as he or she deems fit,” the High Court upheld the couple’s right to be in a live-in relationship.
“Admittedly, he is a major. Merely because of the fact that Petitioner No. 2 is not of a marriageable age the petitioners cannot possibly be denied enforcement of their fundamental rights as envisaged under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The petitioners, both being major, have decided to live together in a live-in relationship and there possibly may not be any legally justifiable reason for the respondents to object to the same,” added the bench.