When two consenting adults decide to live together as husband and wife, families cannot interfere: Delhi High Court

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Once two consenting adults decide to live together as husband and wife, nobody is entitled to interfere including their family members, the Delhi High Court said while directing Delhi Police to ensure the safety of a couple who had married against their families’ wishes [Hina and Anr v The State and Ors].

The Court said that the State is under constitutional obligation to protect its citizens especially when the marriage is solemnised between consenting adults irrespective of their caste or community.

“The Constitutional Courts under our framework are empowered to pass orders to protect the citizens especially in the cases of the nature to which the present dispute pertains. Once two adults consent to live together as husband and wife there can be perceivably no interference in their lives from third parties, including their family. Our Constitution ensures it too,” the Court said.

Justice Tushar Rao Gedela added that it is not only the duty of the State, but also its machinery and agencies to ensure that no harm comes to citizens of the country.

The Court was dealing with a petition by a married couple seeking police protection. It was stated that they had gotten married under the Special Marriage Act.

The Court was told that the woman’s father was a politically connected man in Uttar Pradesh capable of influencing the State machinery.

The Court, therefore, directed the Delhi Police’s beat officers of the concerned area to visit the couple’s residence once in two days for the next three weeks to ensure their safety.

Police officials were also been directed to respond immediately in case of any call received from the petitioners regarding any threat or emergency.

Advocates Mumtaz Ahmed and Satish Sharma appeared for the petitioners.

Additional Standing Counsel (Criminal) Kamna Vohra along with Additional Public Prosecutor Mukesh Kumar appeared for the state.

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