An adult couple is now permitted without marriage to live together, said the Supreme Court. This was said while asserting a Kerala woman 20-year old, whose marriage was annulled as she chose to live with him.
The top court confirmed that the relationships of live-in were acceptable even by the Legislature and so they found it under the provisions of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
The observations came as the apex court filed a plea against a Keral High Court annulling the marriage with Thushara for not attaining the marriage legal age. As per child marriage act, it states prohibition that a girl cannot marry before 18 and boy before 21. Here the boy was Nandakumar and he approached the court that this year on May 30, he will turn 21. The court granted Tushara her custody.
Ashok Bhushan and A K Siri, a bench of justices said marriage cannot be considered null and void just because Nandakumar did not attain the age 21 at his marriage time. The Appelant no 1 and Thushara are Hindus and such marriages cannot be void marriage as per the 1955, Hindu Marriage Act and as per section 12 provisions, the marriage will be a voidable marriage.
It is enough that both appellant 1 and Thushara are major, even if they do not enter into wedlock, that is in dispute, they have the right to live together outside wedlock, said the bench.
While setting aside this order of the high court granting custody to the woman’s father, the apex court said “we make it clear that the freedom of choice would be of Thushara that with whom she wants to live”.
This refers to another recent case from Kerala, Hadiya where her marriage with Shafin Jahan was restored on the ground that marriage was the consent of two adults.