The Punjab and Haryana High Court has said the life and liberty of live-in couple should be protected even if one of the partners has not attained the marriageable age.
A single-Judge Bench of Justice Alka Sarin said the couple's right to live together can't be denied as long as they are within the boundaries of the law.
"The society cannot determine how an individual should live her or his life," she said.
"The Constitution guarantees every individual the right to life. The freedom to choose one's partner is an important facet of the right to life.
"In the present case, the girl's parents cannot dictate how and with whom she should spend her life since she is adult. Parents cannot compel a child to live life on their terms," Justice Sarin said.
She directed the police to decide on the protection petition submitted by the couple and take necessary action as per law.
The non-attainment of the minimum marriageable age was not an impediment to seek protection of life and liberty, the court said, especially since they were both major.
The court was hearing a petition of a couple who alleged that they were being harassed and threatened by the woman's family on account of their relationship.
The two intended to marry each other, but chose to be in a live-in relationship since the man had not yet attained the minimum marriageable age. The two were, however, majors.
The high court placed reliance on the Supreme Court judgment, popularly known as Hadiya case, to underscore that every individual has been guaranteed the right to life under the Constitution, with the choice of a partner being an important facet of the same.
Therefore, there were no legally justifiable reasons for the family and relatives of a live-in couple to object to their relationship, the bench added.