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Living In With A Man While Being Married To Someone Else Is An Offence, Says Allahabad High Court

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While all women are and must be able to practice their freedom and free will, there is a thin line between personal choice and one where you might not be on the right side of morality or the law, one that Allahabad High Court has laid out. In this case, it is married women not being protected by the court, if they decide to live with another man, without divorcing their husband.

The verdict and clarity has come after a petition of a live-in couple, who had moved the court saying they are adults, live as “husband and wife” and no one should interfere in their lives. The petition that was rejected by the Allahabad High Court, observed that doing so would be constituting a crime and that the court will not be willing to offer protection to women who are choosing to be with a man while they are still married to someone else.

The bench said that in such cases, the couple would have no legal rights as it went on to say, “The writ petition has been filed by the petitioners for protection from interference by others in their living as husband and wife. If the protection as prayed is granted, it may amount to grant protection against the commission of offences.”

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It further stated, “on the facts of the present case inasmuch as such the protection as being asked, may amount to protection against the commission of offence… It is a well-settled law that writ of mandamus cannot be issued contrary to law or to defeat a statutory provision, including penal provision. The petitioners do not have legally protected and judicially enforceable subsisting right to ask for mandamus.”

The bench that comprised of justices SP Kesarwani and YK Srivastava ruled that, “Such a relationship does not fall within the [ambit] …of a live-in-relationship or relationship in the nature of marriage.” And we would agree. Even though every person has a right to be with whom they want, as long as you’re married to someone, choosing to be in a live-in with someone else is not just cheating, it is an offence.

This was after the petitioner, Asha Devi who was earlier married to Mahesh Chandra, started living with Suraj Kumar without obtaining divorce. As Asha Devi is married, the act of petitioners particularly Suraj Kumar may constitute an offence under Sections 494 (marrying again during lifetime of husband or wife)/ 495 (same offence with concealment of former marriage from person with whom subsequent marriage is contracted) of the IPC, the bench observed.

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