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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • On Monday, the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court held that when two adults choose each other as life partners in a consensual manner, it is a manifestation of their choice that is recognised under Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution, and that any violation of that right is a constitutional violation.
  • Hearing a protection petition submitted by a married couple, the Bench of Justice Tashi Rabstan went on to say that family, community, or clan consent is not required once two adult individuals agree to marry, and their consent must be given priority.

BACKGROUND

  • The Court was considering a petition brought by Saba Wani and her spouse, who claimed that as majors, they had contracted marriage with their consent and were living as husband and wife.
  • They also requested protection and security, saying that they are afraid of physical assault and harassment from their family, especially respondent no. 5, because petitioners entered into a marriage without their will.

COURT’S OBSERVATION

  • Given that the petitioners are adults who have entered into a marriage based on Muslim Personal Law, rites, and customs, the Court stated that it is the responsibility of Constitutional Courts to zealously protect an individual's right to liberty, as a dignified existence is inextricably linked to liberty.
  • Furthermore, it should be emphasised that the concept of liberty must be assessed and tested against the backdrop of constitutional sensitivity, protection, and values.
  • In light of this, and in light of the prayer made, the Court dismissed the writ petition, directing official respondents to provide proper security cover to the petitioners.
  • The Court did, however, order the official respondents to examine to see if the parties are major and that the marriage was solemnised in strict conformity with the law.
  • In related developments, the Jammu and Kashmir And Ladakh High Court recently ruled that neither law nor religion allows a father to harass or coerce his major daughter simply because she refuses to marry a specific individual.
  • This statement was made by Justice Sanjay Dhar while hearing a protection petition brought by Anjum Afshan (petitioner no. 1) and her husband (petitioner no. 2), who claimed that her own father would kill her because of her marriage to the petitioner.

QUESTIONS

  • What are your opinions on the court’s order?
  • What role does consent play while determining the status of a married couple?

Let us know your views in the comment section below!

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