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Sunday, June 13, 2021

Protection to couple without checking marital status: HC judge calls for larger bench

The petitioner couple through Advocate Rosi sought protection from the court, contending that though the man is married, his relations with his wife are strained and a divorce has not been obtained.

Written by Jagpreet Singh Sandhu | Chandigarh |
Updated: May 25, 2021 1:34:47 am
Justice Kshetarpal held that illustratively, the court has refused to grant protection to persons living together where one of them is already married. (File Photo by Jaipal Singh)

A single judge bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the Chief Justice to constitute a larger bench and examine whether the court is required to grant protection to two people living together without examining their marital status.

The bench of Justice Anil Kshetarpal, which was hearing the plea for protection of a runaway couple, has ordered that their counsel would be at liberty to request the larger bench for interim relief and expeditious disposal.

The petitioner couple through Advocate Rosi sought protection from the court, contending that though the man is married, his relations with his wife are strained and a divorce has not been obtained.

It was further stated that man has now run away with a woman (petitioner number 2) and they wish to reside together, but their relationship is not acceptable to the family members.

Hearing the plea, the bench of Justice Kshetarpal said that it appears that various benches of the court have formed different opinions on the matter concerned.

Hence, he requested the Chief Justice to constitute a larger bench to decide questions as “where two persons living together seek protection of their life and liberty by filing an appropriate petition, whether the Court is required to grant them protection, per se, without examining their marital status and the other circumstances of that case?, and If the answer to the above is in the negative, what are the circumstances in which the Court can deny them protection?”.

Justice Kshetarpal held that illustratively, the court has refused to grant protection to persons living together where one of them is already married.

However, in similar circumstances, protection was granted to petitioners in a case in 2020. Even in relation to live-in relationships between two adults, the court has, considering the facts of some cases, declined protection to the petitioners, and a view contrary to the above seems have been taken by the court.

Justice Kshetarpal added, “I have used the expression ‘person’ in the first question framed above, instead of using the expression ‘adult’, in view of the fact that this Court also seems to have granted protection in certain cases where both the Petitioners were not adults… Keeping in view the fact that a large number of writ petitions are being filed before this Court involving the questions framed, the counsels would be at liberty to request the Larger Bench for interim relief and expeditious disposal…”

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