Observing that a live-in relationship between two consenting adults is not an offence, the Allahabad High Court recently granted police protection to a couple who wanted to live together.
The High Court observed that it “settled the law that where a boy and a girl are major and they are living with their free will, then, nobody including their parents, has authority to interfere with their living together”. ICLU tweeted –
If an adult girl or boy are living with their free will, then, nobody including their parents, has authority to interfere with their living together.
– Allahabad High Court
Live-in relationship between two consenting adults not an offence.
— Indian Civil Liberties Union (@ICLU_Ind) December 3, 2020
Live in relationship is a relationship which has not been socially accepted in India, unlike many other countries. In the case of Lata Singh vs. State of U.P. reported in (2006) 2 SCC(Cri) 478, it was observed that a live-in relationship between two consenting adults of heterosexual sex does not amount to any offence even though it may be perceived as immoral”, observed a division bench comprising Justices Anjani Kumar Mishra and Prakash Padia.
The Court noted that to provide protection to women in live-in relationships, the Domestic Violence Act has been enacted to cover couples having relationships in the nature of marriage.
The Court was considering a writ petition filed by a couple who feared threat of harassment and intimidation by family members.
The first petitioner, a woman aged 24 years, had fallen in love with the 2nd petitioner, a 28-year old man. When the family members of the first petitioners were forcibly trying to solemnize her marriage with another person, she chose to live together with the 2nd petitioner.
They stated that they have been living together for the past six months but their family members are trying to interfere with their peaceful life. Though complaints were made to police, no action ensued.Fearing threat and harassment by family members, the petitioners knocked the doors of the High Court.
The High Court observed that the petitioners are at liberty to live together :
“Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case,we are of the view that the petitioners are at liberty to live together and no person shall be permitted to interfere in their peaceful living. As right to life is a fundamental right insured under Article 21 of the Constitution of India in which it is provided that no person shall be deprived of his right to life and personal liberty”.
Disposing of the writ petition,the High Court ordered that police protection be provided to the petitioners if they request for the same.
“In case any disturbance is caused in the peaceful living of the petitioners, the petitioners shall approach the Senior Superintendent of Police, Farrukhabad i.e. the second respondent, with self attested computer generated copy of this order downloaded from the official website of High Court Allahabad, who shall provide immediate protection to the petitioners”.
Recently, a division bench of the High Court declared that the right to live with a person of his/her choice irrespective of religion professed by them, is intrinsic to the right to life and personal liberty.”