An adult couple, according to the latest Supreme Court ruling, has a right to live together without marriage.
The top court held 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, media reports said.
The apex court was asserting that a 20-year-old Kerala woman, whose marriage had been annulled, could choose whom she wanted to live with, reported PTI.
The observations came while the apex court was hearing a plea filed by one Nandakumar against a Kerala High Court order annulling his marriage with Thushara on the ground that he had not attained the legal age of marriage, the report said.
Prohibition of Child Marriage Act states that a girl can’t marry before the age of 18, and a boy before 21, it was highlighted.
Nandakumar, who had approached the top court, will turn 21 on May 30 this year.
The high court, according to the PTI report, had also granted the custody of Thushara to her father after noting that she was not Nandakumar’s “lawfully wedded” wife.
A 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, the report said.
“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.