Considering a protection plea invalid, Punjab and Haryana High Court recently noted that merely because two adults are living together for a few days, their claim of live-in-relationship based upon bald averment may not be enough to hold that they are truly in live-in-relationship.
Noting that the plea has been filed without any valid cause of action, Justice Manoj Bajaj dismissed the plea with Rs 25,000 cost.
The bench was hearing a plea filed by an 18-year-old girl and a 20-year-old boy. The duo claimed that they fell in love with each other and have decided to marry each other after attaining the majority.
But parents of the girl were against their relationship and allegedly threatened them to implicate them in a false criminal case. The petitioners also claimed that the girl’s parents have decided to marry her to the boy of their choice.
The High Court was informed that petitioners have started residing together in live-in relationship (in a hotel) w.e.f. November 24, 2021 (date of court’s order being 26 November).
Besides noting that apprehension of threat expressed by the petitioners does not seem to be genuine, the court also took note of the fact that no complaint had been made so far against them by the private respondents.
The court observed, “Even if a complaint is given to the police by any of the private respondents against the petitioners, then it cannot be construed as threat to their life and liberty, as private respondents are also free to avail their remedy in law in case, they feel that some offence has been committed.”
The court further noted that the society, for the last few years, has been experiencing profound changes in social values, especially amongst exuberant youngsters, who seldom in pursuit of absolute freedom, leave the company of their parents etc. to live with the person of their choice.
The court went on to add that the protection pleas filed by such couples are ordinarily based on the sole ground of apprehension of threat predicted against the disapproving parents or other close relatives of the girl only, as the decision of the couple is rarely opposed by the family members of the boy.
“Their right to live together is either based on their sudden, secretive and small destination marriage or upon live-in-relationship…Majority of such petitions contain formal symbolic averments, grounds with imaginary cause of action, and are rarely founded upon ‘actual’ or ‘real’ existence of threat, and these types of cases consume considerable time of this court, that too at the cost of many other cases waiting in line for hearing,” the bench said.
The High Court bench dismissed the plea while opining that the length of the live-in relationship coupled with discharge of certain duties and responsibilities towards each other makes such relationships akin to the marital relations.