In the Matter of Kiran Rawat & Anr v State, a petition for protection was submitted by a 30-year-old Muslim man and a 29-year-old Hindu lady. The couple had complained that the cops were intimidating them. The woman’s mother’s disapproval of the live-in relationship and the FIR that was filed against them were also disclosed to the court. The couple contended that nobody should intrude in their private affairs, yet the cops were harassing them.
Observation of the Court
A live-in relationship between an interfaith couple was not granted protection by the Allahabad High Court divisional bench of Justices Sangeeta Chandra and Narendra Kumar Johari, who noted that the Supreme Court has not supported such relationships even though it may have acknowledged them as a social reality.
The court noted that, in reality, all sexual, lustful, or loving activities before marriage—such as kissing, caressing, looking, etc.—are prohibited in Islam because they are seen as components of “Zina” that might result in true “Zina” itself. According to Quran chapter 24, the punishment for such an act is a hundred lashes for the unmarried male and female who engage in fornication together with the “Sunnah” punishment of being stoned to death for the married male and female. The bench also expressed the opinion that it is important to educate young people about the social, emotional, and legal repercussions that may result from live-in relationships.
A court noted that the law has always supported marriage and that when it issued observations on live-in relationships in various judgements, the Supreme Court did not intend to tear up the foundation of Indian family life. The bench also expressed its agreement that the Supreme Court cannot be seen as encouraging such connections notwithstanding what was previously stated. Historically, the law has been biased in favour of marriage. To protect and promote the institution of marriage, it grants several rights and advantages to those who are married. The Supreme Court does not intend to tear apart the social fabric of Indian family life; rather, it is only admitting a social fact.
The bench went on to say that because the High Courts’ writ power is an unusual jurisdiction, it is not intended to settle disputes between private parties. The judges said that, until harassment is shown beyond a reasonable doubt, they believe it to be a societal issue that can be resolved on a social level rather than through the intrusion of the Writ Court under the pretext of a breach of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The Court further stated that parents or other family members are similarly free to take similar actions if they discover that their son or daughter has eloped with the intention of getting married while underage or against their will.
However, the Court decided not to get involved. It was said that the petitioners had not stated that they were lawfully married or that they were attempting to preserve a marriage. Instead, the Court noted that the petitioners had merely asserted that they had the freedom to live with whoever they desired as adults. The Court discovered that, rather than reporting the claimed harassment to the police, “only a fictitious application with certain allegations, particularly by such persons as the petitioners herein enjoying a live-in relationship, is moved under Writ jurisdiction of the High Court.”The bench also expressed the opinion that it is important to educate young people about the social, emotional, and legal repercussions that may result from live-in relationships.