Punjab & Haryana High Court Affirms Fundamental Rights in Live-In Relationships Regardless of Age

punjab and haryana high court Law Insider

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Published on: October 28, 2023 at 11:40 IST

The Punjab & Haryana High Court has reaffirmed that individuals below the marriageable age are not deprived of their fundamental right to protection in a live-in relationship, as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

In a recent case, a live-in couple sought protection from the court, with the young man being a major but not of marriageable age. The petitioners, deeply in love and cohabiting for some time, had plans to marry once the young man reached the legal marriageable age. However, the girl’s parents opposed their union.

The couple claimed that they lived under constant threat, fearing that their family members might locate them and go to extreme lengths, including harm to their lives. They found it challenging to secure a safe place to reside due to the absence of protection for their life and liberty.

Justice Arun Monga, in response to the protection plea, emphasized the state’s obligation to protect the life and liberty of every citizen. He stated that the right to human life is of utmost importance, regardless of a citizen’s age. Being below the marriageable age should not deprive individuals of their fundamental rights as Indian citizens, as enshrined in the Constitution.

The court also referred to a previous case, Seema Kaur and another v. State of Punjab, in which protection was granted to runaway couples in live-in relationships, even when the marriage was invalid due to one party not meeting the age requirement under the Hindu Marriage Act.

In light of these considerations, the court directed the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) in Amritsar to assess the threat perception to the petitioners and, if deemed necessary, provide them with the required protection for their life and liberty.

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