The HC made the observation while hearing a plea for protection by a couple in a live-in relationship from Punjab’s Gurdaspur district. Both are above 18 years — the age a woman attains adulthood and can get married. Men also lawfully become adults at 18, but cannot marry before 21 in accordance with the Hindu Marriage Act.
The couple approached the HC for protection, alleging threats from their families over their relationship. Their counsel said they feared that their families might murder them.
“It is the bounden duty of the state as per the constitutional obligations cast upon it to protect the life and liberty of every citizen. The mere fact that the petitioner No. 2 (man) was not of marriageable age would not deprive the petitioners of their fundamental right as envisaged in the Constitution, being citizens of India,” Justice Harnaresh Singh Gill said.
The judge directed the Gurdaspur SSP to take a decision on the couple’s December 7 request and grant protection to them, if any threat to their life and liberty is perceived.