Taking up the plea of a Punjab couple seeking police protection, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that the boy not being of marriageable age cannot be used to deny the couple their right to live together in case both partners have attained the age of 18.
In the case before HC, the court was informed that both the petitioners are major — the date of birth of girl being 29.06.2001 and that of the boy being 08.10.2000.
In her order, Justice Alka Sarin said: “Petitioner No.1 (the girl) in the present case is more than 18 years of age and is a major. She is well within her right to decide for herself what is good for her and what is not. She has decided to take a step to be in a live-in-relationship with petitioner No.2 (the boy) who is also major, though may not be of a marriageable age. Be that as it may, the fact remains that both the petitioners in the present case are major and have a right to live their life on their own terms.”
The court added: “The private respondent numbers 4 to 6 being family members of petitioner No. 1, who is a major, cannot dictate how and with whom she chooses to spend her life. Parents cannot compel a child to live a life on their terms. Every adult individual has a right to live his or her life as he or she deems fit.”
In their plea seeking police protection, the couple had told the court through their lawyer that their relationship is not acceptable to the family members of the girl and 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, their lawyer said, left her home on December 20 to reside with the boy, who since has not attained marriageable age, the petitioners are living in a live-in relationship.
Holding that “parents cannot compel a child to live life on their terms”, the Punjab and Haryana High Court directed the SSP, Fatehgarh Sahib, to decided a representation for police protection already made before him by the couple as per law.
“…No doubt petitioner No.2 is not of marriageable age, however, 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 Constitution of India. 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…,” said Justice Sarin.
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