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Punjab and Haryana HC's latest ruling gives two consenting adults the right to live-in without any interference. Finally, some good news?
Punjab and Haryana HC’s latest ruling gives two consenting adults the right to live-in without any interference. Finally, some good news?
According to a report in the Hindustan Times, a bench headed by Justice Alka Sarin gave a monumental ruling earlier this week. The ruling states that the right of two adults living together cannot be denied even if the man hasn’t reached the legal age of marriage which is 21 years.
This ruling comes after a couple who have been living together filed a petition stating their right to life and personal liberty is being threatened by their families. The woman who is 19-years-old and the man who is 20 told the Punjab and Haryana High Court (HC) that they wished to get married.
However, when the woman’s family found out about the relationship, she was harassed by the family and later even confined to her room. Soon after this, on December 20th, the woman left her house and has been living in with the man since.
The court contended since both the man and woman are adults, they have the right to make decisions for themselves and live life on their own terms.
Particularly emphasising on the woman’s right to life, the Court said, “She is well within her right to decide for herself what is good and what is not. She has decided to be in a live-in relationship with petitioner no.2 who is also major, though may not be of marriageable age. Be that as it may, both the petitioners in the present case are major and have the right to live life on their own terms.”
Meanwhile, it is also important to highlight a similar ruling given by the Allahabad High Court on December 3rd. The ruling states, ‘where a boy and a girl are major and they are living with their free will, then nobody including their parents has the authority to interfere with their living together.”
The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 has set the age of consent for a girl at 18 years and it has remained the same since then. In this particular case, both the individuals have attained a valid and legal age, thus have the full authority to live together.
It is often our society’s inability to adapt to the fact that women can take full authority of their lives and make decisions as legal adults that culminates into cases like these. Ones where women are forced to move to a court in order to protect their fundamental rights.
Therefore, it is vital for rulings like these to come to assert and let people know that a woman is not bound to follow decisions taken for her by her family. If she is a major, she has the autonomy to enter a consensual relationship with another major. And this shouldn’t be the matter of contention for anyone.
Considering how most women in India reluctantly follow the norms and rules ‘set’ for them, this ruling emerges as a beacon of hope. It gives them the hope that they can live life on their own conditions without the limitations that exempt them from doing so. Secondly, given the patriarchal society that we live in, rulings like these also come as a sign that as a society, we are moving forward.
Though the concept of live-in relationships is still not very well-digested by our society, this decision by the Punjab and Haryana HC is a step in the right direction. It will, hopefully, help us gradually remove the taboo around live-in relationships and highlight the importance of the right to life and personal liberty.
Picture credits: Photo by Dương Nhân from Pexels
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For International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women, let's look at how we 'accept' mothers who avenge violence against their kids, but not wives who fight back.
The silver screen is replete with depictions of male rage and men engaging in violence, but when women engage in violence, even when it is reactionary violence, it doesn’t sit right with us. We allow mothers (as portrayed in Sridevi’s Mom and Raveena Tandon’s Maatr) to avenge their daughters and resort to violence when all else fails, but when the abuser is an intimate partner, the rules appear to be different.
Depictions of female rage on screen garner mixed reactions. We root for protagonists and films we agree with like Mom or Maatr, but there are also films like Darlings which drew flak for its depictions of reactionary violence.
This begs the question, which women on screen are allowed to fight back and why do we root for some of these characters while refusing to see where others come from?
This Generation To Generation Violence towards A Daughter-in-law Needs To Stop!
It is ironic how women in the same home do not think twice before harassing a woman who left her parents and family behind to live with her husband.
“My daughter needs a husband who listens to her. He should leave his family to stay with her after marriage. He should be well-off and not let her do chores.”
“I also need an obedient daughter-in-law, who will be an unpaid servant and a punching bag who shouldn’t have a life of her own.”
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