Boy or girl free to live with a person of choice after attaining majority: HC

  • | Saturday | 9th September, 2023

PRAYAGRAJ: The Allahabad high court has held that a boy or girl, who has attained majority, is free to marry or live with a person of his/her choice and no one including his/her parents or anyone on their behalf can interfere in their right to freedom of choosing a partner which emanates from right to life and personal liberty guaranteed under Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India.Disposing of a joint petition filed by inter-religious live-in couple, Justice Surendra Singh-1 directed that in case any disturbance is caused in the peaceful living of the petitioners, the petitioners shall approach the superintendent of police concerned, with a copy of this order, who shall provide immediate protection to the petitioners.In the present writ petition, a Muslim girl and her Hindu live-in partner have sought a direction that their family members, who are private respondents in the petition, be directed not to interfere in the peaceful living of the petitioners. Further, the direction was also sought to the police authorities to provide protection to the petitioners.It was submitted by the counsel for the petitioners that both the petitioners were major and residing together peacefully out of their own free will in a live-in-relationship. It was further submitted that the mother of the first petitioner, who is a Muslim girl and her family members were averse to the parties live-in relationship. She, along with other family members, was harassing and disturbing the peaceful life of the petitioners. She had threatened the petitioners with dire consequences. The petitioners have apprehension of honour killing from her family members. Besides, the girl had moved an application (dated August 4, 2023) to the commissioner of police, Gautam Buddh Nagar seeking protection but of no avail. It was submitted on behalf of the petitioners that both the petitioners intended to solemnize their marriage in near future. It was also stated that till date, no FIR had been lodged relating to their live-in relationship and both the petitioners were living together happily.Appearing on behalf of the state government, the state counsel opposed the petition and submitted that both the petitioners belong to different religious groups. "Living in a live-in relationship is punishable as zina (adultery) in Muslim personal law," he submitted.The state counsel also placed reliance upon a division bench decision of this court (Lucknow Bench) in Kiran Rawat and another vs. State of UP, 2023 Lawsuit (All) 953, and submitted that the court has refused to provide protection to couples residing together in a live-in relationship.However, while passing the above directives, the court in its decision dated September 5 said, "From perusal of the judgment of this court in Kiran Rawat case, it is apparent that the court has not held that couple residing in a live-in relationship are not entitled to protection of the court, but it is due to the special circumstances of that case before the court, that the court has denied protection to the couple staying in a live-in-relationship.

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