While the society was trying hard to impose restrictions on adult couple’s independence, the Supreme Court declared that an adult couple can live together, even without tying the knot.
The Supreme Court observed that live-in relationships were now even recognized by the Legislature and they had found a place under the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
The matter came to light as the Court was hearing a plea filed by one Nandakumar against the Kerala High Court, as it declared him and his partner Tushara’s marriage invalid, on the ground that Nandakumar had not attained the legal age of marriage. As per the Child Marriage Act, a girl can’t marry before the age of 18 and a boy before 21.
The Kerala High Court had granted the custody of Thushara to her father. That is when Nandakumar approached the Supreme Court and filed a case against the Kerala High Court.
“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,” said a bench of justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhusan.
The Supreme Court said, “we make it clear that the freedom of choice would be of Thushara as to with whom she wants to live,” while keeping aside the order of Kerala High Court granting Thushara’s custody to her father.
In a time when young couples are being frequently targeted by the moral police, such a decision from Supreme Court is really appreciable and also shows how the decision of Kerala high court of giving the custody of an adult girl to her parent and nullifying the marriage was problematic.