All HC | Can the family members harass a couple who on attaining majority got married and started living together? HC reiterates SC’s position

Allahabad High Court: Dr Kaushal Jayendra Thaker, J., addressed a petition where protection was sought of the Court by a couple against threats and harassment by family members.

The Petitioners (a wife and her husband) sought directions upon respondents not to interfere in their married life and also sought the protection of their life and liberty.

Harassment & Threat

Petitioners stated that they are adults and living together as husband and wife out of their own free will. For the said reasons, the respondent and his other family members were angry with them and that there was serious danger to the petitioners’ lives as they were being threatened and harassed.

Age

To substantiate their claim the petitioner-wife submitted her high school certificate as proof that she was a major now and along with that, the petitioner-couple have brought on record the complete online application for registration of their marriage.

Family Honour

Petitioners have an apprehension that the respondents would eliminate them for the honour of the respondent’s family.

Contentions

Standing Counsel for the State submitted that an FIR is already pending against the petitioner-husband when he and the petitioner-wife had eloped and that the petitioner-husband has been charged with having committed an offence under POCSO Act (the petitioner-wife being a minor at that time) and therefore, he ought not be granted protection of the Court.

Petitioners’ counsel submitted that the FIR was lodged when the petitioners had first eloped but now they have entered into wedlock and the petitioner-wife is now major and therefore, the FIR not being recent but of 2018, cannot come in way of their getting married and getting protection by this Court.

Decision

The Bench stated that there is no need to issue any notice to the private respondents and with the consent of the petitioners’ counsel, the petition is disposed of in terms of the Rules of the Court. The Supreme Court in a long line of decisions has settled the law that where a boy and a girl are major and they are living with their free will, then, nobody including their parents, has any authority to interfere with their living together.

Cases for reference:

Gian Devi v. Superintendent, Nari Niketan, Delhi, (1976) 3 SCC 234; Lata Singh v. State of U.P., (2006) 5 SCC 475; and Bhagwan Dass v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2011) 6 SCC 396.

Therefore, in view of the facts and circumstances of the case, the Court stated that in case of any disturbance being caused in the peaceful living of the petitioner, they shall approach the police authority concerned.

Petition was partly allowed. [Priya Verma v. State of U.P., 2020 SCC OnLine All 1023, decided on 07-09-2020]

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