Right to live with a person of his/her choice irrespective of religion professed by them, is intrinsic to right to life and personal liberty: Allahabad High Court

An individual on attaining majority has statutorily conferred a right to choose a partner, which if denied would not only affect his/her human right but also his/her right to life and personal liberty, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. We say so for the reason that irrespective of the conversion being under clout, the mere fact that the couple was living together, the alleged relationship can very well be classified as a relationship in the nature of marriage distinct from the relationship arising out of marriage, in view of the provisions of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 was held by the Allahabad High Court in case of Salamat Ansari and Ors. Vs State of U.P [Crl. Mis. Writ Petition No- 11367 of 2020] by the bench comprising of Justice Pankaj Naqvi and Justice Vivek Agarwal.

In the present case, Salamat Ansari and Priyanka Kharwar @ Alia along with two others have invoked the extraordinary jurisdiction of this Court for seeking quashing of an FIR under Sections 363, 366, 352, 506 IPC and Section 7/8 POCSO Act on the ground that the couple is of the age of majority, competent to contract a marriage, performed Nikah on 19.08.2019 as per Muslim rites and rituals, after Priyanka Kharwar renounced her Hindu identity and embraced Islam. It is further submitted that the couple has been living together as husband and wife for last one year peacefully and happily. It is finally submitted that the FIR lodged by the father of the petitioner, Priyanka Kharwar is prompted by malice and mischief only with a view to bringing an end to martial ties, no offences are made out, FIR is quashed.

The Court held that, the judgment in Priyanshi @ Km. Shamren and others Vs. State of U.P. and Another, Smt Noor Jahan Begum @ Anjali Mishra and Another vs. State of U.P. and others, is laying a good law as none of these judgments dealt with the issue of life and liberty of two matured individuals in choosing a partner or their right to freedom of choice as to with whom they would like to live.

The Court relied on Shafin Jahan v. Asokan K.M (2018).

Whatever may be the date of birth of the petitioner, the fact remains that she is at present more than 18 years of age. As the petitioner is sui juris no fetters can be placed upon her choice of the person with whom she is to stay, nor can any restriction be imposed regarding the place where she should stay. The court or the relatives of the petitioner can also not substitute their opinion or preference for that of the petitioner in such a matter.”

The right to choose a partner irrespective of caste, creed or religion, is inhered under the right to life and personal liberty, an integral part of the Fundamental Right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The Apex Court in KS Puttaswamy vs Union of India (2017) while deciding the issue of the right to privacy.

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Judgement reviewed by-Sarita Kumari

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