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Written by: Ayushi Singh (Intern)
Edited by: Anubhav Yadav (Content Head & Developer)

A couple in live-in-relationships who have been refused relief by the Punjab and Haryana High Court are protected by the Supreme Court of India (Gurwinder Singh v. State of Punjab).

A Division Bench of Justices Navin Sinha & Justice Ajay Rastogi after Hearing an appeal against the final Judgment and order by Punjab & Haryana High Court which refused to grant protection to the couple observing that the live-in-relationship, which is morally and socially not acceptable and no protection order in the petition can be passed, granted relief “since it concerns life and freedom, the Superintendent of Police must act promptly in accordance with law, including in line with the High Court of Justice’s remarks, to offer protection to petitioners in view of apprehensions or threats.

A single bench of Justice HS Madaan of P&H HC dismissed the petition by stating that the petition seeks seal of approval on their live-in-relationship which is neither morally nor sociably acceptable and hence no protection can be passed.

The petitioner couple has lived with each other and plans to marry soon. But the parents of the woman apprehend danger to their lives. Their counsel also argued that their family owned Aadhar cards and certain other important documents, and hence they were unable to get married. They are both adults, with the woman being 19 and the male aged 22.

“The assertion of choice is an inseverable face of freedom and dignity,” the Supreme Court in Shakti Vahini v Union of India and others declared. The authors of the ruling, CJI Dipak Misra, stated at the outset, “What the French philosopher and thinker Simone Weil argued is that ‘freedom to speak in its concrete sense means being capable of choosing.” The judgement in this matter was handed down on 27 March 2018, although it does appear that its message has not yet been internalized by the state administration and the police and the lower judiciary, including J.M. Misra, A.M. Khanwilkar, and D.Y. Chandrachud.

In another case other bench of the HC while dealing with the petition of the Jind couple said, “In the considered view of this bench, if such protection as claimed is granted, the entire social fabric of the society would get disturbed and damaged.” Although Punjab & Haryana High Court had refused protection of petitioners even with regard to living relations between two adults on the basis of the facts of some cases, it also took a position to this contrary.

The HC stated that live-in-relationship may not be acceptable at all but there cannot be any question on legality of such relationships or that living together as, living together without the knot of marriage constitutes to an offence. Punjab and Haryana High Court has reiterated that issues relating to the validity of marriage cannot, in the protection of petitions, be grounds for a refusal to protect the life and freedom of the couple.


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