New Delhi: In an observation that is bound to cheer votaries of pre-marital s*x and live-in-relationships, the Supreme Court today said a man and a woman living together without marriage did not constitute an offence.
"When two adult people want to live together, what is the offence? Does it amount to an offence ? Living together is not an offence. It cannot be an offence," a bench comprising chief justice KG Balakrishnan, justice Deepak Verma, and justice BS Chauhan observed.
The court said that even Lord Krishna and Radha lived together, according to mythology.
The apex court said there was no law prohibiting live-in relationships or pre-marital s*x.
The apex court made the observation while reserving its judgment on a special leave petiton filed by South Indian actress Khushboo seeking to quash 22 criminal cases filed against her after she allegedly endorsed pre-maritial s*x in interviews to various magazines in 2005.
The justices grilled the counsel for some of the complainants in the case and repeatedly stressed that the perceived immoral activities could not be branded as offences.
The argument of the counsel was that Khushboo's comments allegedly endorsing pre-marital s*x would adversely affect the minds of young people, leading to decay in moral values and the country's ethos.
"Please tell us what is the offence and under which section. Living together is a [part of the] right to life," the apex court said, referring to Article 21, which guarantees the right to life and liberty as a fundamental right.
The court further said the views expressed by Khushboo were personal. "How does it concern you? We are not bothered. At the
most it is a personal view. How is it an offence? Under which
provision of the law?" the bench asked the counsel.
The court further asked the complainants to produce evidence to show if any girls had eloped from their homes after the interview appeared.
"How many homes have been affected, can you tell us?" the bench asked while enquiring whether the complainants had daughters. When the response was in the negative, they shot
back, "Then how are you adversely affected?"
Khushboo had approached the Supreme Court after the Madras high court in 2008 dismissed her plea to quash the criminal cases filed against her throughout Tamil Nadu