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Girl yet to attain marriageable age cannot be deprived of fundamental rights: Punjab and Haryana High Court

The Petition has been filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for directing respondents to protect the life and liberty of the Petitioners from the hands of private respondents.

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The Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that the mere fact that petitioner girl is not of marriageable age would not deprive her of her fundamental right.

A Single-Judge Bench of Justice Harnaresh Singh Gill passed this order on Wednesday, while hearing a Criminal writ petition filed by Minor girl and another.

The petition has been filed under Article 226 of the Constitution for directing respondents to protect the life and liberty of the petitioners from the hands of private respondents.

The Counsel for the petitioners submitted that the petitioners are a couple, the petitioner No. 2 (boy) is major, age of petitioner No. 1 (girl) is 17 years and 10 months and want to marry each other after attaining the age of majority of petitioner No. 1 but the family members of petitioner No. 1 are against their relationship.

She further submitted that both the Petitioners have been living together in live-in relationship at the address of petitioner No. 2 and facing threat from the family members of petitioner No. 1 and in this regard, they have also moved a representation dated August 30, 2021.

Counsel for the petitioners further submitted that the petitioners are living in constant danger as they have every apprehension that respondents would catch them and carry out their threats and might go to the extent of even committing their murder. The petitioners are, therefore, running from pillar to post for protection of their life and liberty.

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Article 21 of the Constitution stipulates protection of life and liberty to every citizen and that no person shall be deprived of his life and personal liberty except according to procedure established by law. It is the bounden duty of the State as per the Constitutional obligations cast upon it to protect the life and liberty of every citizen, the Court said.

Mere fact that Petitioner No. 1, is not of a marriageable age would not deprive the Petitioners of their fundamental right as envisaged in the Constitution, being citizens of India. Without commenting upon the marital status or live-in relationship of the Petitioners, I dispose of the petition with directions to respondent No. 2-Senior Superintendent of Police, Sangrur to decide the representation dated August 30, 2021, moved by the Petitioners, in accordance with law and grant protection to them, if any threat to their life and liberty is perceived

-the Court ordered.

The Court said it is made clear that this order shall not be taken to protect the petitioners from legal action for violation of law, if any are committed by them.

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