While allowing a plea by an inter-faith couple seeking police protection, Delhi High Court recently observed that the choice to choose a life partner cannot be affected by matters of faith and religion.
A single-judge bench of Justice Saurabh Banerjee, in its September 12 order, said, “The right to marry is an incident of human liberty. The right to marry a person of one’s choice is not only underscored in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but is also an integral facet of Article 21 of the Constitution of India which guarantees the right to life.”
Thereafter, the HC observed, “It is also reiterated that the choice to choose a life partner cannot in any way be affected by matters of faith and religion. When the Constitution of India guarantees to each individual the right to freely practice, profess and propagate any religion, it also guarantees every individual the autonomy for these aspects in matters of marriage.”
The HC further observed that the state, society, or even parents of the parties involved “in any way” cannot “dictate the choice of life partner of a person” or limit such rights of an individual when it involves “two consenting adults”.
The HC noted that the petitioner couple is “major and well within their rights to marry each other unaffected by religion, faith, and beliefs”. The HC said that the parents of the woman (petitioner 1) cannot be permitted to threaten the life and liberty of the petitioner couple, who “do not require any social approval for their personal decisions and choices”.
The court also observed that Article 21 of the Constitution of India grants Protection of Life and Personal Liberty to all persons wherein it is the inherent right of every individual to exercise personal choices, especially in matters relating to marriage.
“Thus, in the opinion of this Court, the petitioners herein are well and truly entitled to protection under Article 21 of the Constitution of India,” Justice Banerjee said.
Allowing the petition, the HC directed that the contact number of the beat constable and the SHO concerned shall be provided to the petitioner couple and they shall be free to call or get in touch with either of them, as and when the need arises.
“Needless to say that the SHO concerned and Beat Constable shall also take all possible steps to provide the adequate assistance and protection, as needed, to the petitioners, in accordance with law,” the HC said.
The couple claimed that they were major and got married under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 on July 31. Seeking police protection, they alleged they were receiving constant threats from the woman’s parents as the couple belonged to different religions and had married against their wishes.