In a ground-breaking verdict, the Supreme Court ruled that a girl aged 20 or above is free to live with her ‘underaged’ husband. The judgement of the Apex court said that an adult couple can be in a live-in relationship even when the man’s age is below 21 years, the legal age for marriage.
In its ruling, the SC said that a girl is free to decide who she wants to stay with.
This comes after the Kerala High Court last year, cancelled the marriage of 20-year-old Thushara on the grounds that her partner Nandakumar was not 21 when they had married in April 2017. The Kerala High Court ordered to send her back to her father after cancelling the marriage.
Giving its ruling on the issue, the SC cited the Marriage Law and said that the Kerala High Court should not have cancelled their marriage.
Thushara’s father had also accused the boy Nandakumar of ‘kidnapping’ his daughter and later got and order from the Kerala High Court to cancel the marriage, stating that the boy was only 20 when he had married his daughter. But the Supreme Court ruled that it was enough to note that Nandakumar and Thushara were adults.
"Even if they were not competent to enter into wedlock (which position itself is disputed), they have right to live together even outside wedlock," a bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said.
The apex court also noted that the legislature had recognised ‘live-in relationship’ under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005.