Even if a relationship is deemed unsocial, society cannot dictate how individuals live their lives

Case Title: Smt. Divya Shekhawat & Anr. v. State of Rajasthan & Ors.

A live-in couple in Rajasthan has been granted legal protection by the Rajasthan High Court.

In response to a protection petition filed on behalf of a couple living in a live-in relationship, the Rajasthan High Court ruled last week that a woman who is of legal age has the right to live with the person of her choice, while emphasising that society cannot dictate how people live their lives, even if such a relationship is deemed unsocial.

“Unquestionably, the petitioners are major, and the petitioner No.1, the girl, is residing with the petitioner No.2 out of her freewill; as major, she is entitled to reside with the person of her choice,” Justice Mahendar Kumar Goyal observed.

It was the petitioners’ case that, despite the fact that they were majors in a live-in relationship under an agreement dated 17th June 2021, the respondents were threatening them because they were unhappy with their relationship. In light of this, the couple sought police protection.

On behalf of one of the respondents, it was argued that because a FIR had been filed against the man, the couple could not be afforded police protection.

Hearing this, the Court observed, citing landmark decisions on the subject, that “…society cannot determine how individuals live their lives, especially when they are major, regardless of the fact that the relationship between two major individuals may be termed unsocial.” As a result, individuals’ lives and personal liberties must be protected except in accordance with legal procedures, as mandated by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.”

“Furthermore, pursuant to Section 29 of the Rajasthan Police Act, 2007, every police officer is duty bound to protect the life and liberty of the citizens,” the statement continued.

With this in mind, the court ruled on the application asking the applicant to send a copy of the application to the competent SHO police department. In the form, he must take the necessary precautions and other measures to ensure the safety and security of the applicant in accordance with the law.

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