The Supreme Court has publicly stated that unmarried, adult couples have the right to live together without marriage. The court has dismissed the Kerala High Court’s decision to annul a marriage between a 20-year-old woman, Thushara, and her 21-year-old husband, Nandakumar. 

Thushara’s father had moved the court after the two got married in April last year, stating that his daughter had been kidnapped. Under the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, the groom has to be at least 21 years old and the bride 18. The High Court in Kerala had sent Thushara back to her father. 

However, the Supreme Court has now ruled that it was sufficient that the couple were adults. The court also cited another Kerala High Court ruling, when a Hindu woman’s marriage to a Muslim man was annulled after her father alleged his daughter had been brainwashed. The Supreme Court later reinstated that marriage. 

“Even if they were not competent to enter wedlock, they have the right to live together even outside wedlock. It would not be out of place to mention that ‘live-in relationship’ is now recognised by the legislature itself which has found its place under the provisions of the Protection of WOmen from Domestic Violence Act, 2005” said Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan.