Kochi: In a landmark decision, the Kerala high court on Friday allowed an 18-year-old boy and a 19-year-old girl to live together, saying that the court cannot "shut its eyes to live-in relationships".
The decision comes a month after the Supreme Court had said that the adults have a right to be in a live-in relationship, even if they have not attained the legal age of marriage.
A division bench, comprising Justice V Chitambaresh and Justice K P Jyothindranath, dismissed a petition filed by the girl’s father and said that such partners cannot be separated by writ of a habeas corpus as 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 noted. It held that the girl is free to live with the boy or marry him later when he attains the marriageable age.
According to the petition filed by Alappuzha resident Muhammed Riyad, his daughter had not attained the legal age of marriage, and hence, is a 'child' under Section 2 (a) of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006. In such a scenario, the father said that even if the young couple marries at this age, their wedding will not be valid and their child will be illegitimate.
However, the bench of the Kerala high court observed that the girl had attained puberty and had the right to marry, both under Section 251 of the Mahomedan Law as well as the provisions of the Act.
"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 recognized by the Legislature itself," the court held.