The Supreme Court said that adult couples have the right to live together without marriage. They set aside the Kerala High Court order that “entrusted” the custody of 20-year-old Thushara to her father, separating her from her husband Nandakumar who was below 21 when they got married in 2017. Supreme Court said that she had a freedom of choice as to with whom she wants to live, reported Live Law.
Petition in court
Thushara eloped with Nandakumar last year and got married. Thushara’s father moved the Kerala High Court on April 2017 and accused Nandakumar of kidnapping her. Nandakumar is going to turn 21 on May 30.
The father of the girl filed a plea with Kerala High Court. The High Court took note of the age of the boy. It also observed that there was no evidence to show that a valid marriage was solemnized between the parties as marriage certificate was also not produced by them. That is why the Kerala High Court had entrusted the custody of the girl with her father.
The boy filed an appeal with the Apex Court stating that the girl is a major and has the right to live on her own terms and choice.
Supreme Court order
The Bench of Justice AK Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan agreed with Nandakumar’s point and said that the marriage was not void under the Hindu Marriage Act.
The Court further observed: “Even if they were not competent to enter into wedlock (which position itself is disputed), they have right to live together even outside wedlock. It would not be out of place to mention that ‘live-in relationship’ is now recognized by the Legislature itself which has found its place under the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.”
The Bench also quoted relevant portions from Hadiya’s case. “The daughter is entitled to enjoy her freedom as the law permits and the court should not assume the role of a super guardian being moved by any kind of sentiment of the mother or the egotism of the father.”
We make it clear that the freedom of choice would be of Thushara (the Girl) as to with whom she wants to live, the Bench said while allowing the appeal.