KOCHI: When Cupid’s arrows strike youngsters and their true love finally triumphs over all social taboos, one can only applaud and appreciate it. The Kerala High Court did exactly that on Friday, allowing a boy, 18, and girl, 19, to live together.
A Division Bench, comprising Justice V Chitambaresh and Justice K P Jyothindranath, issued the landmark verdict while dismissing a petition filed by Muhammed Riyad of Alappuzha seeking a directive to the police to produce his daughter Rifana Riyad, who was allegedly being detained by the boy Hanize, Thrikkunnappuzha.
The Supreme Court had recently said adults have the right to be in a live-in relationship even if they have not attained the legal age for marriage. The Bench issued the order citing the verdict.
The High Court Bench observed that it cannot close its eyes to the fact that live-in relationships have become rampant in our society and such partners cannot be separated by the issue of a writ of a habeas corpus, provided they are major. The constitutional court is bound to respect the unfettered right of a major to have a live-in relationship even though the same may not be palatable to the orthodox section of the society. The court held that the girl is free to live with the boy or marry him later on his attaining the marriageable age.
The court noted the girl and the boy are having live-in relationship, practically living as husband and wife though not legally wedded. The father of the girl assured that he is willing to let his daughter go with the boy after a legal and valid marriage, but not for a live-in relationship.According to her father, the boy has not turned 21 and hence is a ‘child’ as defined under Section 2 (a) of the prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.
The father submitted that there can be no valid marriage between the girl and the boy, and any offspring born on them can only be an illegitimate child in the eye of law.The court observed the girl had attained puberty and had the capacity to marry both under Section 251 of Mahomedan Law and the provisions of the Act. But the marriage of the boy, who has not completed 21, is voidable at his instance under Section 3 of the Act on the ground that he was a ‘child’ at the time of the marriage.
“It transpires that the girl is living with the youth out of her own volition and she being a major has a right to live whatever she wants to as is permissible or to move as per her choice. The girl has every right to live with the youth even outside her wedlock since the live-in relationship has been statutorily recognised by the legislature itself,” the court held.
In Nandakumar’s case, the Supreme Court said even if they were not competent to enter into wedlock, they have right to live together even outside wedlock. In Hadiya’s case, the apex court held, “It needs no special emphasis to state that attaining the age of majority in an individual’s life has its own significance.”