Recently, the Allahabad High Court has ruled that a married woman who is living with another person without divorcing her husband will not be entitled to protection from the court.
The above observations were made by a division bench comprising of Justices S P Kesarwani and Y K Srivastava while hearing a petition moved by the petitioners Asha Devi and Suraj Kumar who contended both of them are adults ‘living as husband and wife’, and that no one should interfere in their lives.
Meanwhile, the opponent counsel mentioned that Asha Devi was earlier married to one Mahesh Chandra, however, she started living with Suraj Kumar without obtaining divorce which is an offense and thus is not entitled to any protection.
Subsequently, while observing that Asha Devi was still the legally wedded wife of Mahesh Chandra, the bench asserted that “As Asha Devi is married, the act of petitioners particularly Suraj Kumar may constitute an offense under Sections 494 (marrying again during lifetime of husband or wife) / 495 (same offense with concealment of former marriage from person with whom subsequent marriage is contracted) of the IPC.”
“Such a relationship does not fall within the phrase of live-in relationship or relationship in the nature of marriage,” added the HC bench.
Therefore, while dismissing the petition the court observed, “It is a settled law that writ of mandamus can be issued if the petitioner has a legal right to the performance of a legal duty by the party against whom the mandamus is sought and such right must be subsisting on the date of the petition.”
“The petitioners do not have legally protected and judicially enforceable subsisting right to ask for mandamus,” it said.