Live-in relationships, though not socially accepted in India, do not amount to any offence under law, the Allahabad High Court recently ruled reaffirming that two consenting adults are at liberty to live together and no person would be permitted to interfere in their peaceful living (Kamini Devi v. State of Uttar Pradesh).
The High Court held that the Supreme Court has, in a long line of decisions, settled the law that where a boy and a girl are major and are living together of their free will, then, nobody including their parents, has the authority to interfere with the same.
“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 UP [(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,” the Court observed.
The order was passed by a Bench of Justices Anjani Kumar Mishra and Prakash Padia in a petition filed by a couple in a live-in relationship who had sought directions to ensure that the family members of the woman do not harass them in any manner.
Live-in relationship between two consenting adults of heterosexual sex does not amount to any offence even though it may be perceived as immoral.
The petitioner no. 1, Kamini Devi had submitted that her family was forcibly trying to solemnize her marriage with older men against her wishes.
The Court was further told that when the woman came to know of such a situation, she had no option except to live away in her personal interest and she decided to live with petitioner no. 2, Ajay Kumar on her own free will and without fear and pressure.
The Aadhaar cards of the petitioners revealed that they were 24 and 28 years old respectively.
It was submitted that the petitioners were living with each other happily for the last six months but the respondent family was not happy with them and tried to harass them.
It is settled law that where a boy and a girl are major and are living with their free will, then, nobody including their parents, has authority to interfere.
The court in its judgment noted that as per the records, the petitioners had filed a complaint addressed to the Superintendent of Police, Jahanganj, District Farrukhabad on March 17, 2020 requesting that necessary protection be provided to them but no action was taken on the complaint till date.
In light of the same, 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,” the order said.
However, the Court also clarified that the respondent family members are at liberty to file application for recall of the order if the documents brought on the record by the petitioners are fabricated or forged.
Recently, the Allahabad High Court had ruled that right to live with a person of choice, irrespective of religion, is intrinsic to right to life and personal liberty.