In a significant verdict, the Supreme Court ruled that a girl, 20, is free to live with her 'underaged' husband. The Apex court said an adult couple can be in a live-in relationship even the man's age is below 21 years, the legal age for marriage. In its ruling, the Supreme Court said a major girl is free to decide who she want to live with.
This is after Kerala High Court annulled the marriage of 20-yr-old Thushara last year on the grounds that her partner Nandakumar wasn't 21 when they had married in April 2017. The Kerala High Court cancelled her marriage and ordered to send her back to her father.
Giving its ruling in the issue, the Supreme Court cited the Marriage Law and opined that the Kerala High Court shouldn'thave cancelled their marriage on its own.
While Thushara's father had also accused the boy Nandakumar of "kidnapping" his daughter Thushara and subsequently got an order from the Kerala high court to cancel her marriage with Nandakumar, pointing that the boy was only 20 years when he had married his daughter. The high court had restored the girl to her father. But the Supreme Court ruled that it was sufficient to note that Thushara and Nandakumar 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 top court noted that the legislature had also recognised "live-in relationship" which has been covered under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005.