Choosing life partner can not be affected by faith, religion, says HC

Choosing life partner can not be affected by faith, religion, says HC

New Delhi: The choice of a life partner cannot be affected by matters of faith and religion, the Delhi High Court has said, observing the right to marry is an incident of human liberty.

The high court said the right to marry a person of one’s choice has been underscored not only in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but is also an integral facet of Article 21 (right to life and personal liberty) of the Constitution.

‘It is also reiterated that the choice to choose a life partner cannot in any way be affected by matters of faith and religion. When the Constitution of India guarantees to each individual the right to freely practice, profess and propagate any religion, it also guarantees every individual the autonomy for these aspects in matters of marriage,’ Justice Saurabh Banerjee said.

The high court said it is not for the State, society or even the parents of the parties involved to dictate the choice of life partner of a person or curtail and limit such rights when it involves two consenting adults.

The high court’s order came on a petition by an interfaith couple, who got married against the wishes of their families, seeking direction to the authorities to provide them protection as they were facing threats from them.

The court allowed the petition and directed that the contact number of police officials concerned be provided to the petitioners who shall be free to get in touch with them whenever the need arises.

‘Needless to say that the SHO concerned and beat constable shall also take all possible steps to provide the adequate assistance and protection, as needed, to the petitioners, in accordance with law,’ it said.

The court said the petitioners are adult and well within their rights to marry each other unaffected by religion, faith and beliefs.

It said the parents of the woman cannot be permitted to threaten the life and liberty of the petitioners who do not require any social approval for their personal decisions and choices.

‘Article 21 of the Constitution gives protection of life and personal liberty to all persons whereby it is the inherent right of every individual to exercise personal choices, especially in matter relating to marriage. Thus, in the opinion of this court, the petitioners herein are well and truly entitled for protection under Article 21 of the Constitution,’ the judge said.

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