Delhi

Supreme Court says an adult couple can live together without wedding

The Hush Post: In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court has ruled that an adult couple has a right to live together without wedding. This verdict came in the case of a 20-year-old woman from Kerala, whose marriage had been annulled. The court ruled that the woman could choose whom she wants to live with.

In a recent judgement, the apex court ruled that live-in relationships are now recognized by the Legislature also and they had found a place under the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, Economic Times reported on Sunday.

The verdict came in a plea filed by one Nandakumar against the order of the Kerala High Court that annulled his marriage with one Thushara on the ground that he had not attained the legal age of marriage.

Prohibition of Child Marriage Act mentions that a girl can’t marry before the age of 18, and a boy before 21.

Petitioner Nandakumar, who had approached the top court, will turn 21 on May 30 this year.

The high court had also granted the custody of Thushara to her father after noting that she was not Nandakumar’s “lawfully wedded” wife.

A Supreme Court bench of justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said their marriage could not said to be “”null and void” merely because Nandakumar was less than 21 years of age at the time of marriage.

“Appellant no 1 as well as Thushara are Hindus. Such a marriage is not a void marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and as per the provisions of section 12, which can be attracted in such a case, at the most, the marriage would be a voidable marriage…

“It is sufficient to note that both appellant no 1 and Thushara are major. Even if they were not competent to enter into wedlock (which position itself is disputed), they have right to live together even outside wedlock,” the bench reportedly said.

While setting aside the order of the high court granting custody of woman to her father, the Supreme Court said that “we make it clear that the freedom of choice would be of Thushara as to with whom she wants to live”.

It also referred to a recent case involving a woman from Kerala, Hadiya, where it had restored her marriage with Shafin Jahan on the ground that it was a marriage between two consenting adults, the report said.

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