Punjab and Haryana High Court: Arun Monga, J., held that inaction to legitimately end matrimonial alliance from wife while seeking protection for live-in-relationship, suggest lack of bonafide on the part of the husband.

The petitioners, claiming to be in live-in-relationship had approached the Court for seeking to protect their lives and liberty apprehending threat from the parents and relatives of the female partner, who were unhappy with their relationship. Regarding the status of the previous marriage of the live-in partners, counsel for the petitioners, Mr. Impinder Singh Dhaliwal stated that, petitioner 1 (male partner) had been deserted by his wife for another man. Out of his wedlock, he had two children i.e. son aged 19 years old and daughter aged 16 years old, who were in his custody. While on the other hand, petitioner 2 was stated to be a widow and out of her wedlock she too was blessed with two children i.e. two sons aged 12 years and 7 years, respectively. The petitioner submitted that the live-in-relationship was merely for the sake of better upbringing of the four children and both the petitioners had decided to live under the same roof for providing them better co-parenting.

Finding it incongruous on the part of petitioner 1 that he had not taken any steps to file appropriate matrimonial proceedings seeking divorce on the ground of desertion and/or otherwise as provided under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, in spit of the claim that he had been compelled to provide motherly care to his children through petitioner 2, since his wife has deserted him, the Bench stated,

“…from his inaction to legitimately end his matrimonial alliance from the biological mother of his children, there appears to be lack of bona fides on his part.”

In view of the above, the Bench held that there was no ground to interfere in the matter. However, in order to avoid any possibility of petitioner 2 being put to any unnecessary perils and/or having been misled by petitioner 1, who has started living with him, the Bench held that petitioner 2 deserved to be protected to that extent. Accordingly, the police officials were directed to look into the threat perception of petitioner 2 and provide her with the mobile number of a lady police official to whom she can approach, in case of any untoward incident at odd hours in case of any threat to her life. Further, the Bench clarified that the protection granted to petitioner 2 should neither be treated as a stamp of approval qua the self-proclaimed relationship of the petitioners nor any reflection on the merits of the contentions raised by them in their petition.[Nirbhey Singh v. State of Punjab, 2021 SCC OnLine P&H 1281, decided on 16-06-2021]

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Appearance before the Court by:

For the Petitioners: Adv. Impinder Singh Dhaliwal,

For the State: DAG Amit Mehta

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