SUPREME COURT ORDERS PROTECTION TO COUPLES IN LIVE-IN RELATIONSHIP
In the case of Gurwinder Singh & Anr vs. The State of Punjab & Ors., a division bench of the Supreme Court ordered protection for a couple living together. The division bench comprised of Justices Navin Sinha and Justice Ajay Rastogi. They ruled that the matter concerned the life and liberty of the citizens. It allowed the petitioners to supplement their representations to the Superintendent of Police while the police were ordered to act expeditiously.
It thus held, “Since it concerns life and liberty, the Superintendent of Police is required to act expeditiously in accordance with law, including the grant of any protection to the petitioners in view of the apprehensions/threats, uninfluenced by the observations of the High Court.”
Advocate Abhimanyu Tiwari, appearing for the two sets of petitioners, appealed in the Supreme Court after being turned down by Punjab and Haryana high court. Benches of Punjab and Haryana HC passed orders saying that granting protection to two adults living together would “disturb the entire social fabric of the society”. One also stated that live-in relationships are not socially or morally acceptable and hence granting protection would promote it further.
However, advocate Tiwari in the SC, argued that the couples were consenting adults who were desirous of getting married. He tried to establish a threat to their life as they were on a run. Their families were not just opposed to them living together but were also opposing their union at all. They threatened to kill them multiple times. In April this year, one of the couples had written to the Senior Superintendent of Police of District Tarn Taran in Punjab for protection. Around the same time, the couple in the second petition had requested the SSP of Jind in Haryana seeking similar protection. Nevertheless, the bench of the supreme court has now ordered the police to comply with the law and not go by the previous judgment of the HCs.
The idea of living-in-relationship is a growing concept in India and this judgment can be viewed as a landmark judgment.