In ever-evolving society, evolving law with it, time to shift perspective from didactics of orthodox society, shackled with strong strings of morality to one that values an individual’s life: P&H HC

Punjab and Haryana High Court: While dealing with a matter regarding protection to live-in relationship, Anoop Chitkara, J., held that, every person in the territory of India has an inherent and indefeasible fundamental right to life flowing from Article 21 of the Constitution of India and the State is duty-bound to protect life.

Fearing for their lives and liberty at the hands of the private respondents, petitioners who are in live-in relationship approached this Court seeking protection through the State by invoking fundamental rights of life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Petitioner’s counsel submitted that petitioner 2 was a married woman and had voluntarily gone to the company of petitioner 1. Petitioners were facing grave danger from the private respondents and their lives be protected even though petitioner 2 was married to respondent 4.

High Court remarked that,

“…times are changing fast, even in those lands that were left behind and stuck with the old ethos and conservative social milieu.”

Bench added that,

“We are governed by the rule of law and follow the Constitutional dharma. In the ever-evolving society, evolving the law with it, the time is to shift perspective from didactics of the orthodox society, shackled with the strong strings of morality supported by religions to one that values an individual’s life above all.”

Further, the Court stated that if the allegations of apprehension of threat to their lives turn out to be true, it might lead to an irreversible loss.

Stating that this Court will not adjudicate on the validity of petitioner’s marriage or her decision of cohabiting with petitioner 1 but adhering to its fundamental duty of guarding their lives, Bench held that it shall be appropriate that the Superintendent of Police, SHO concerned or any officer to whom such powers have been delegated or have been authorized in this regard, provide appropriate protection to the petitioners.

With regard to the protection, High Court held that it is subject to the stringent condition that from the time such protection is given, the petitioners shall not go outside the boundaries of the place of their residence, except for medical necessities, to buy household necessities, and for bereavements in the families of the persons who are close to them, as it would save them from apprehended risk.

Lastly, the Bench clarified that the present order is not a blanket bail in any FIR.

In view of the above, petition was allowed. [Jai Narain v. State of Punjab, 2022 SCC OnLine P&H 584, decided on 18-2-2022]


Advocates before the Court:

Mr. Vishneet Singh Kathpal, Advocate for the petitioners.

Mr. Rehatbir Singh Mann, DAG, Punjab.

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