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The Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled that a male under the legal marriageable age of 21 can live in a live-in relationship with a consenting woman aged 18 or older, stating that the couple’s right to life and liberty cannot be taken away under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court’s ruling in May 2018 that an adult couple can live together without marrying was echoed by the high court.

The high court remarked while hearing a case in which a couple from Punjab’s Gurdaspur area requested police protection from their parents, who were against their live-in relationship.

SSP Gurdaspur was ordered by Justice Harnaresh Singh Gill to protect the couple in the event of a threat to their life or liberty. It is the state’s bounden duty, under the constitutional obligations imposed on it, to defend every citizen’s life and liberty. According to the court, the fact that petitioner No. 2 is not of marriageable age does not deprive the petitioners of their constitutional right as citizens of India.

The petitioners had come to the Court seeking protection from their parents, who were opposed to their relationship and had threatened them. The pair were both adults in a live-in relationship, but the boy was under the age of 21, which is the legal age for men to marry.

The couple’s lawyer cited the Supreme Court decision in Nandakumar and Anr. Vs. The State of Kerala and Others, in which the top court ruled that a couple has the right to live together even if they are not married.

The single judge agreed with the reasoning, adding that every citizen’s right to life and liberty must be respected. According to Bar & Bench, Article 21 of the Constitution guarantees every citizen the right to life and liberty, and no one shall be deprived of his or her life or personal liberty except following legal procedures, “the Court said,” according to Bar & Bench.

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