The Rajasthan High Court has termed the live-in relationship between a man and a married woman as “illicit”.
A single-judge bench of Justice Satish Kumar Sharma also denied the petitioners’ request for police protection, said The Indian Express. The petitioners had said that they were being threatened by the respondents and that their lives were in danger.
A 30-year-old married woman and a 27-year-old man from the Jhunjhunu district had jointly filed the plea. The counsel for the petitioners argued that the petitioners were adults and were consensually in a live-in relationship.
The petition said the woman had been forced to live separately because of physical abuse and cruelty by her husband. The counsel said the petitioners were receiving threats because of their live-in relationship and that their lives were in danger. They had requested police protection.
The counsel for the respondents — the woman’s husband and his family — had said during the hearing that the relationship between the two petitioners “is illicit, anti-social and also against the law” and had argued that they were “not entitled to get protection”.
“It is clear from examining all the documents of both sides that petitioner number 1 is already married. She hasn’t got divorce but despite that, she is staying with petitioner number 2 in a live-in relationship. In such a scenario, the live-in relationship between the two comes under the category of illicit relationship,” said the order by the court of Justice Sharma, passed on August 12.
The Supreme Court earlier this year, for the first time, in the case of S Khushboo vs Kanniammal (2010) had given legal recognition to live-in relationships by categorising them as “domestic relationships” protected under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (‘DV Act’). The court held that a live-in relationship comes within the ambit of the right to life enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
The SC further held that live-in relationships are permissible and that the act of two adults living together, in any case, cannot be considered illegal or unlawful.
However, the apex court in Indra Sharma vs VKV Sarma (2013) categorised live-in relationships into two: domestic cohabitation between two unmarried individuals and domestic cohabitation between a married and unmarried individual or two married individuals. The Supreme Court has only recognised the former and not the latter.