Refusing to sacrifice their love at the altar of a forced marriage, a couple in Gujarat’s Banaskantha knocked on the judiciary’s door. Only to be fined Rs 5,000 for a petition “on basis of their live-in relationship,” involving a now-married woman and her previous love interest.
The man approached HC and submitted that the woman whose custody he was seeking was in a relationship with him. She was married off to another person against her will, and the couple did not get along. The woman left her husband and matrimonial home and together the duo, entered into a live-in relationship.
After a while, the woman’s family and in-laws came and took her back to her husband. The man approached the HC, filing a habeas corpus petition for his girlfriend, contending that she was in “illegal custody” of her husband and being held against her will. He sought directions for the police to get custody of the woman from her husband and hand her over to him.
The state government, however, opposed the petition arguing that the man had no locus standi to file such a petition. If the woman is in the custody of her husband, it cannot be said that she is in illegal custody.
After hearing the case, the bench of Justice V.M. Pancholi and Justice H.M. Prachchhak said the petitioner’s marriage to the woman was not solemnized so far and she was not even divorced from her husband.
“We are, therefore, of the view that custody of respondent No.4 (the woman) with respondent No.5 (her husband) cannot be termed illegal custody as alleged by the petitioner and the petitioner has no locus to file the present petition on the basis of the so-called live-in relationship agreement,” they said and imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on the petitioner, instructing him to deposit the money with the State Legal Services Authority.
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