An Adult Couple Can Live Together Without Marriage

Any adult couple has a right to live together without marriage, the Supreme Court of India said, while asserting that a 20-year-old Kerala woman, whose marriage had been rejected, could choose whom she wanted to live with.

The highest court had held that live-in relationships were now even recognized by the legislature, and they had found a place under the provisions of the PWDV Act, 2005.

The remark came while the Supreme Court was hearing a plea filed by Nandakumar against Kerala High Court’s order which revoked his marriage with Thushara on the ground that he had not earned the legal age of the wedding.

As per Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, a girl can’t marry before the age of eighteen and a boy before twenty-one.

Nandakumar, who had, approached the apex court, will turn 21 on May 30 this year.

The High Court had also approved the custody of Thushara to her father after noting that she was not Nandakumar’s “lawfully married” wife.

A Bench of Justices A K Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan said their marriage could not be said to be “null and void” merely because Nandakumar was less than twenty-one years of age at the time of marriage.

“Appellant number one, as well as Thushara both, are Hindus. Such a marriage is not an invalid marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and as per the provisions of section 12 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, which can be drawn in such a case, at the most, the marriage would be a voidable marriage…

“It is adequate to note that both appellant number one and Thushara are major. Even if they were not competent to enter into wedlock (which position itself is argued), they have the right to live together even outside wedlock,” the Bench had said.

While setting aside the order of the high court granting custody of woman to her father, the supreme court said that “we make it clear that the liberty of like would be of Thushara as to with whom she wants to live together.”

It also mentions a recent case involving a woman from Kerala, Hadiya, where it had to rake up her marriage with Shafin Jahan on the ground that it was a marriage between two intending adults.

The Supreme Court had also clarified that a court cannot barrage in the marriage of two consenting adults and cannot annul the marriage in a habeas corpus (a writ requiring an individual under arrest to be produced before a judge or into court, for securing the person’s release) petition.

Law Corner

Leave a Comment