No offence by adults in live-in sans divorce : Punjab and Haryana High Court

Editorial Comment

  • Hindu Dharma has laid down some rules for the institution of marriage so that the social order remains healthy. Extramarital affairs are considered immoral.
  • This is why, society has survived for tens of thousands of years.

New Delhi – The Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that no offence would be made out if two adults were in a live-in relationship without being divorced from their spouse. The High Court also refused to agree with a judgment that said a spouse was not entitled to protection with regard to relationship with another person without obtaining a divorce.

The ruling by Justice Amol Rattan Singh came on a protection petition against the State of Punjab and other respondents. The Bench was told that the petitioner-man was married. He had filed a divorce petition, which was dismissed. An appeal against the order was filed by him before the High Court, which was still pending. In an order passed during the hearing of the appeal, it was observed by the High Court that there was no chance of reconciliation.

Justice Amol Rattan Singh observed that the petitioners were directed by a co-ordinate Bench to address arguments in terms of a judgment by the Allahabad High Court. The counsel, in response, submitted that it was observed a spouse was not entitled to protection qua a relationship with another person without obtaining a divorce.

Justice Amol Rattan Singh added that he found himself unable to agree with the judgment, especially in view of the fact that the Supreme Court had struck down Section 497 of the IPC on adultery as unconstitutional and violative of Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

“Consequently, prima facie at least at this stage, no offence would seem to have been committed by the petitioners, they being adults in a live-in relationship with each other, whether or not any divorce petition is pending before this court, which of course it is in the present case…,” added Justice Amol Rattan Singh.

Before parting with the case, the Bench directed the Senior Superintendent of Police concerned to ensure that the life and liberty of the petitioners was duly protected. “A very adverse view to be taken by this court in case the petitioners are again harassed by the SHO on account of any live-in-relationship that they have with each other,” the Bench concluded.