The Weekly Obiter

WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS NOT MAINTAINABLE IN CASES OF LIVE-IN-RELATIONSHIPS: KERALA HIGH COURT: JUNE 01, 2018

July 04, 2018

The Hon’ble High Court of Kerala in the matter of Muhammed Riyad V. State Police Chief, Trivan-drum bearing no. WP (Crl) 178 of 2018, allowed an 18 year old boy and a 19 year old girl to live together, dismissing a Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by the girl’s father.
The Hon’ble Court held that live-in partners cannot be separated by Courts by issuing the writ of Habeas Corpus, provided that both the partners have crossed the age of majority and have consented to stay with each other without any coercion. It was further concluded that the girl was living with the boy out of her own volition and that she was not under the illegal custody. Hence, she had every right to live with the boy even outside her wedlock since live-in relationship has been statutorily recognized by the Legislature itself.
Moreover, it was held that the boy had not completed 21 years of age and hence a ‘child’ as defined un-der section 2(a) of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 (‘the Act’ for short). Therefore, no valid marriage could be possible. However, the Hon’ble Court observed that the girl had attained puberty and had the capacity to marry both under Section 251 of Mahomedan Law and the provisions of the Act. However, it was observed that since the boy has not completed 21 years of age the marriage is voidable at his instance.
Hence, the Hon’ble Court dismissed the writ petition and held that:
We cannot close our eyes to the fact that live-in relationship has become rampant in our society and such living partners cannot be separated by the issue of a writ of habeas corpus provided they are major. The Constitutional Court is bound to respect the unfettered right of a major to have live-in relationship even though the same may not be palatable to the orthodox section of the society. 

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