Punjab News: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled that a couple is not in a “live-in relationship” or bound by the “nature of marriage” if they live together without divorcing their former spouse. The court further declared that bigamy under Sections 494 and 495 of the IPC is committed.
“On the face of the above, it appears that in order to avoid any criminal prosecution in case of adultery, the present petition has been instituted… the hidden intent of the petitioners is just to obliquely obtain the seal of this court on their conduct,” observed the HC.
Ruling in response to a petition:
These rulings were made by High Court Judge Kuldeep Tiwari in response to a petition filed by a Punjabi couple who had fled and asked the court for protection.
Given that the male petitioner was born in April 1996 and the female companion in January 2002, the petitioner had notified the court that both petitioners had reached the age of majority.
The couple claimed to have been in a “live-in relationship” since September 2023. Despite the support of the male partner’s family, the female partner’s family was against the relationship and had even threatened to kill them.
They were forced to contact HC in order to request protection for their lives and freedoms since they were afraid for their safety.
The male partner was observed by the bench during the hearing to be married, have a 2-year-old daughter, and not have received a divorce from his life partner from any court.
HC refused to grant any protection:
The high court observed, while refusing to grant any relief of protection to the couple, “Without obtaining any valid decree of divorce from his earlier spouse and during subsistence of his earlier marriage, the petitioner No.2 (male partner) is living a lustful and adulterous life with the petitioner No.1 (female partner), which may constitute an offence punishable under Sections 494/495 (bigamy) of the IPC…,” observed the HC.