In the recent case of ‘Moyna Khatun and another v. State of Punjab and others’, the Punjab and Haryana High Court disapproved the concept of parties entering into a deed which not only backs their ‘live in relation’ but also segregates it from marital relationship.
The petitioners, named Moyana Khatun (18y/o) and Labh Singh(19 y/o) were willing to execute the deed of their contractual live in relationship and already consented to fully cooperate without any marital obligations and to not claim anything against each other.
The Court however, took in consideration a lot of factors to conclude that it did not approve of such a deed in this case. The foremost being the age of the petitioners. According to Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, the petitioners have not yet attained the age of performing marriage.
Even the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Section 5(iii) the legal age of marriage is 18 years for girls and 21 for boys.
Another hurdle in approving the deed was Section 26 of the Indian Contracts Act 1872. This section prohibits the legalization of such contracts which restrain a marriage. Such contracts cannot be enforced as stated in the Section 14 of the Specific Reliefs Act 1963.
The court also expressed that approval of such a deed would be against the morals of society. “…the terms and conditions of live-in-relationship relied upon by the petitioners referred to above, especially stating that it is not a ‘Marital Relationship’ is nothing but the misuse of the process of law as it cannot be morally accepted in society.” Said the Court while dismissing the petition.