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Allahabad Court upholds tenets of Islam to deny live-in relationship rights to previously married Muslim, says illicit relationships prohibited by Islamic law

"The constitutional protection under Article 21 of the Constitution of India would not lend an un-canalized support to such a right, once the usages and customs prohibit such a relationship between the two individuals of different faiths," the bench added.

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court ruled on Wednesday (8th May) ruled that Muslims cannot claim rights in a live-in relationship if they have a surviving spouse since such a relationship is prohibited by Islamic law.

A bench of Justices AR Masoodi and AK Srivastava made the observations while hearing a writ petition brought by Sneha Devi and Mohd Shadab Khan, who were seeking protection from police action after the woman’s parents filed a kidnapping complaint against Khan, and ordered that Sneha Devi be returned to her parents under guard.

The petitioners claimed to be in a live-in relationship, but the woman’s parents filed a police report accusing Khan of kidnapping and enticing her to marry him. They also sought protection for their lives and liberty, claiming that they were adults who, according to the Supreme Court, were free to live together in a live-in relationship.

“Islamic tenets do not permit live-in relationships during the subsisting marriage. The position may be different if the two persons are unmarried and the parties being major choose to lead their lives in a way of their own,” the bench said while declining to pass an order on the issue of protection of life and liberty.

Following an investigation, the bench discovered that Shadab Khan married Farida Khatoon in 2020 and that the couple had a child.

The court observed that constitutional morality and social morality in marriage institutions must be harmonized; otherwise, social coherence for accomplishing the goal of societal peace and serenity would fade and disappear. It further asked the police to send petitioner Sneha Devi to her parents under guard. 

“The constitutional morality may come to the rescue of such a couple and the social morality settled through the customs and usages over ages may give way to the constitutional morality and protection under Article 21 of the Constitution of India may step in to protect the cause. The case before us is, however, different,” the Court observed while the couple sought protection under Article 21 (protection of life and personal liberty).

“The constitutional protection under Article 21 of the Constitution of India would not lend an un-canalized support to such a right, once the usages and customs prohibit such a relationship between the two individuals of different faiths,” the bench added.

There is no definition of a live-in relationship as such in India. It broadly refers to the proposal of two people living together with consent. It allows people to understand each other, which aids in making an informed decision about marriage.

Earlier, in March this year, the Allahabad High Court made a similar ruling considering the Hindu law. While hearing the plea filed by a live-in couple seeking police protection against their family members, the Court held that as per the Hindu Law, a person having a spouse alive cannot live in an illicit and live-in relationship in contravention of the provisions of the law.

Justice Renu Agarwal stated that the Court could not safeguard a connection that was not supported by Hindu law. If the court takes up such cases and offers protection to illegal relationships, it will cause disorder in society, hence such relationships cannot be backed by the court.

It was also decided that no law-abiding citizen who is already married under the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 can seek the Court’s protection for an unlawful relationship that is not part of the country’s social fabric. The sacredness of marriage presupposes divorce. If the girl has any difference with her husband, she has first to move to get separated from her spouse as per law applicable to the community if Hindu Law does not apply to her, it was observed.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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