Punjab and Haryana High Court grants protection to a live-in couple

 Lekha G

The Punjab and Haryana High Court in a case of a live-in couple seeking protection of life and liberty at hands of the private respondents observed that wherein a couple takes a decision to reside together without sanctity of marriage then, it is not for the courts to judge them on their decision.

The Bench of Justice Sant Prakash was hearing a plea of petitioners, a girl aged 17 years and a boy 20 years of age seeking protection of their life and liberty at hands of private respondents, who are immediate family members of the girl. The girl had eloped on refusal of marriage of her parent’s choice and started living with the boy till they could solemnize a marriage.

The Assistant Advocate General, Punjab submitted that several cases where a couple seeking protection under live-in relationship was dismissed by the Coordinate Benches.

The Court noted that the couple approached the Court seeking protection under Article 226 of Constitution of India and a prayer that they be restrained from interfering in peaceful live-in relationship of theirs.

The Court observed that, “Once an individual, who is a major, has chosen his/her partner, it is not for any other person, be it a family member, to object and cause a hinderance to their peaceful existence. It is for the State at this juncture, to ensure their protection and their personal liberty.”

The Court noting that the petitioners had not committed any offence said, “With due respect to the judgments rendered by the Coordinate Benches, who have denied protection to couples who are in live-in relationship, this Court is unable to adopt the same view.”

Further, the Court hearing an appeal against the final judgment and order of Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered Punjab Police to grant protection to the couple.

Recently, Punjab and Haryana High Court had declined protection to two live-in adults, however, a view contrary to this has also been taken by the Court.

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