Taking a step towards a more accepting and open-minded society, the Punjab-Haryana High Court has granted protection to a couple who entered into a live-in-relationship in the case of Pradeep Singh & Anr v. State of Haryana. Previous benches of the same Court declined to offer protection in two separate yet similar instances stating that “entertaining a plea by a live-in couple seeking protection from their relatives could disturb the social fabric of the society.”
In his short yet crisp order delivered on 18th May, Justice Sudhir Mittal emphasized that the right to life and liberty guaranteed under Article 21 extends to an individual with respect to choices made by them towards full development of his/her potential whether or not such a choice is universally accepted. “The individual also has the right to formalize the relationship with the partner through marriage or to adopt the non-formal approach of a live-in relationship,” he went on to state.
The Court drew its conclusion by approaching the issue from two standpoints. The first being that the law does not explicitly prohibit live-in relationships or is it considered the commission of any offence. The Court held that in such a case where even societal acceptance of such instances are increasing the liberty of individuals must be protected irrespective of individual views. In the second observation, the Court stated that providing protection to married couples legally is no different than doing the same for couples in live-in relationships .
With these observations the High Court disposed the petition directing the State to provide appropriate protection.