[Live-In Relationship] The Society Cannot Determine How An Individual Should Live Their Life: Punjab & Haryna High Court

  • Ratna Singh
  • 11:01 PM, 31 Jan 2021

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has recently observed that a person cannot be compelled to live life in accordance with the terms imposed by the society. 

The Single Bench of Justice Alka Sarin noted that,

“Merely because of the fact that boy is not of a marriageable age the petitioners cannot possibly be denied enforcement of their fundamental rights as envisaged under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.”

The instant criminal writ petition was been filed under Article 226/227 of the Constitution of India for enforcement of fundamental right of the petitioners seeking protection of their lives and liberty as enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

It was stated that both the petitioners are majors and though petitioner No.2 had not attained marriageable age, they had started living together in live-in relationship w.e.f. 18.01.2021 and entered into an agreement dated 18.01.2021 to this effect.

The relatives of the petitioners were not accepting the relationship and also threatening them of dire consequences.

The petitioners reported the same to the Superintendent of the Police, Jind but no action had been taken.

Looking into the factual matrix of the case, the court observed that,

“Petitioner No.1 (girl) in the present case is more than 18 years of age and is a major. She is well within her right to decide what is good for her and what is not. She has decided to take a step to be in a live-in relationship with petitioner No.2 (boy), who is also major, though may not be of a marriageable age. Be that as it may, the fact remains that both the petitioners in the present case are major and have a right to live their lives on their own terms. Parents cannot compel a child to live a life on their terms. Every adult individual has a right to live his or her life as he or she deems fit. The petitioners are both major and have every right to live their lives as they desire within the four corners of the law. The society cannot determine how an individual should live her or his life.”
– noted the bench.

In this context, the bench stated,

"A person with whom someone chooses to spend his or her life with cannot be determined by what society wants. Parents don’t accept their daughter’s choices only because of fear that it is not acceptable to the society. The Constitution of India under Article 21 guarantees every individual the right to life and the choice of a partner is an important facet of the right to life." 

Therefore, while taking into account the fact that the Boy is not of marriageable age, the Court directed the Superintendent of Police, Jind to decide the representations put forth by the petitioners and take action accordingly.

Case title - Mafi and another v. State of Haryana and others [CRWP No.691 of 2021]

Access Copy of Judgment Here