Published on: 25 September 2023 at 15:05 IST
The Delhi High Court has reaffirmed that the right to marry is an integral part of the right to life as enshrined in Article 21 of the Indian Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The court granted a petition seeking police protection for the petitioner against threats from family members. It emphasized that individuals, including the petitioners, are not required to seek social approval for their personal choices and decisions.
Justice Saurabh Banerjee emphasized, “The right to marry is a facet of human liberty. The right to marry a person of one’s choice is not only emphasized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but is also an integral aspect of Article 21 of the Constitution of India, which guarantees the right to life.”
The writ petition was filed to seek a writ of mandamus directing respondents 2 and 3 to protect the petitioners from threats to their life and liberty. The petitioners, who are adults, had entered into a marriage of their own free will and consent according to Hindu Vedic rites and ceremonies at ‘Arya Samaj Mandir.’ However, they faced constant threats from respondents 5 to 11, as the marriage was solemnized against their wishes.
The court underscored that the freedom to marry is a fundamental aspect of human liberty. It highlighted that both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 21 of the Indian Constitution recognize the right to marry a person of one’s choice as an essential element of the right to life.
The court referred to the cases of Shafin Jahan v Asokan K.M. [(2018) and Lata Singh v State of U.P. & Another [(2006), noting that the petitioners, being adults, have the right to marry each other without regard to their religion, faith, or beliefs.
The family members of petitioner no.1, respondents 5 to 11, cannot threaten the life and liberty of the petitioners.
The court emphasized that individuals do not require societal approval for their personal choices and decisions.
According to Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, every individual has the right to personal liberty and protection of life, including the right to make personal choices, especially in matters of marriage. Therefore, the court held that the petitioners are entitled to protection under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
Consequently, the court allowed the petition.
Case Title: Palak & Anr. v Govt. of NCT of Delhi & Ors.