CJ urged to form larger HC bench on examining marital status for giving protection to runaway couple
A single bench of the Punjab and Haryana high court has requested the chief justice to constitute a larger bench to examine whether protection can be provided to runaway couples without examining their marital status.
The bench said this while hearing a petition filed by a couple from Haryana wherein the man ran away with a woman without divorcing his wife and sought protection.
The bench said, “It appears that various benches of this court (of co-ordinate strength) have formed different opinions on the matter which cannot be reconciled easily. Therefore, it is appropriate to request the chief justice to constitute a larger bench to decide the petitions seeking protection.”
The expression “person”, the bench added, is used instead of using the word “adult” in view of the fact that this court also seems to have granted protection in certain cases where both the petitioners were had not attained adulthood.
“Keeping in view the fact that a large number of writ petitions regarding the issue are being filed, the counsels would be at liberty to request a larger bench for interim relief and expeditious disposal,” it said.
In the past few weeks, conflicting verdicts have been given on the issue of protection to runaway couples.
On May 11, a bench observed that the “entire social fabric of the society will get disturbed” if the plea for protection from a live-in couple is accepted, while another termed live-in relationships “morally and socially not acceptable”.
These judgments were followed by two other benches ruling the opposite.
A bench on May 18 held that live-ins are not prohibited nor do they amount to commission of any offence, another observed that such relationships may not be acceptable to all but could not be termed illegal and, therefore, the denial of protection to live-in couples would be a mockery of justice.