Punjab and Haryana High Court: Arvind Singh Sangwan, J., addressed the instant petition regarding a new concept of contractual Live-In-Relation wherein the petitioners had sought issuance of direction for the protection of their life and liberty.

Petitioner 1, namely Moyana Khatun was aged about 18 years, whereas, petitioner 2, namely Labh Singh was aged about 19 years and in pursuance to a deed of Live-In-Relationship dated 04-03-2021, which had been executed between the petitioners, wherein, petitioner 1 was referred to as the ‘Female Partner’ and petitioner 2 was referred to as the ‘Male Partner’. Certain terms and conditions had been settled in the said deed of live-in-relationship by way of mutual consent.

The contents of the deed were such that:

  • both the parties had agreed that their live-in-relationship was not ‘Marital Relationship’;
  • that the parties will fully cooperate with each other without any dispute and issue and will not claim anything against each other;
  • if any of the parties backs out from the aforesaid deed, the other party will have a right to approach a competent Court of law for implementation of the same.
  • that the parties are entitled and will be at liberty to terminate this deed any time after giving one month’s notice to other party.

However, it was also stated that on attaining marriageable age the parties were agree to solemnize the marriage. The petitioners contended that the live-in-relationship deed was executed between the parties at Patiala in presence of witnesses though neither the original deed was attached nor names of the witnesses were described; only a typed copy signed as a true copy by the counsel was attached.

Reliance was placed on Simran Kaur v. State of Punjab, 2018 SCC OnLine P&H 6710, wherein, the petition relating to live-in-relationship couples was disposed of with a direction to the Senior Superintendent of Police to provide protection to the couple.

Counsel for state, DAG Joginder Pal Ratra argued that such deed of live-in-relationship is impermissible in law when the parties had not attained marriageable age under Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006. It also submitted that Section 5 (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 prohibits marriage of a girl below 18 years and boy below 21 years of age and prescribes punishment for two years for contravention of Section 5 (iii) of the Act.

It was also submitted by the state that Section 26 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872, also provides that an agreement in restraint of marriage is a void agreement and therefore, it cannot be enforced as per Section 14 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963. Thus, the Live-In-Relationship agreement set up by petitioners being void agreement could not be accepted.

The Bench opined that the deed being impermissible in law, no benefit could be claimed by the petitioners. Petitioner 2 was held to be incompetent to have a live-in-relationship since he had not attained marriageable age. The Bench held that the petition was without any merit as the terms and conditions of live-in-relationship relied upon, especially stating that it was not a ‘Marital Relationship’ was nothing but the misuse of the process of law as it could not be morally accepted in society. [Moyna Khatun v. State of Punjab, CRWP-2421-2021, decided on 10-03-2021]

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Appearance before the Court by:

For the Petitioner: Adv. Sushil K. Sharma,

For The Respondent: DAG Joginder Pal Ratra

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