Muslims cannot claim rights in live-in relationship when having spouse: Allahabad HC

Allahabad High Court rules Muslims in live-in relationships with living spouses cannot claim rights under Islam

Updated - May 09, 2024 04:30 pm IST

Published - May 09, 2024 04:06 pm IST - Lucknow

Representational image of Allahabad High Court

Representational image of Allahabad High Court | Photo Credit: PTI

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on May 8 said that Muslims cannot claim rights in a live-in relationship when they have a living spouse, as such a relationship is not permitted under the tenets of Islam.

A bench of justices A.R. Masoodi and A.K. Srivastava-I made the observations while hearing a writ petition by Sneha Devi and Mohd. Shadab Khan, who were seeking protection from police action after the woman's parents filed a kidnapping case against Mr. Khan, and directed that Ms. Devi be sent to her parents under security.

The petitioners claimed that they were in a live-in relationship but the woman's parents lodged a police complaint accusing Mr. Khan of kidnapping and inducing her to marry him.

They also sought protection of their lives and liberty, saying they were adults and as per the Supreme Court, they were free to reside together in a live-in relationship.

"Islamic tenets do not permit live-in relationships during the subsisting marriage. The position may be different if the two persons are unmarried and the parties being major choose to lead their lives in a way of their own," the bench said while declining to pass an order on the issue of protection of life and liberty.

On an inquiry, the bench came to know that Mr. Khan was married to Farida Khatoon in 2020 and the couple had a baby.

The Court observed that constitutional morality and social morality in the matter of marriage institutions required to be balanced, failing which social coherence for achieving the object of peace and tranquillity in the society would fade and disappear. It also directed the police that petitioner Ms. Devi be sent to her parents under security.

While the couple sought protection under Article 21 (protection of life and personal liberty), the Court observed, "The constitutional morality may come to the rescue of such a couple and the social morality settled through the customs and usages over ages may give way to the constitutional morality and protection under Article 21 of the Constitution of India may step in to protect the cause. The case before us is, however, different."

"The constitutional protection under Article 21 of the Constitution of India would not lend an un-canalised support to such a right, once the usages and customs prohibit such a relationship between the two individuals of different faiths," the bench added.

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