Consent of Family, Relatives and Community is unnecessary when two consenting adults agree to get married

In the case of Saba Wani & Anr. v. Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir & Ors. (2021) W.P.No. 2269/ 2021, Justice Tashi Rabstan of the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh heard the petitioner seeking protection and security from their relatives, wherein the petitioners had gotten contractually married out of free will as husband and wife under Muslim Personal Law; however, the petitioners claim that they have been subjected to physical violence and harassment at the hands of the relatives. The judge upheld the right and liberty of the petitioners to choose their spouse under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, wherein the consent of family, relatives and community is unnecessary in the light of two adults consensually agreeing to get married to each other.

The judge observed that the right to life and the right to a dignified existence are inseparable from each other in the light of Article 21, wherein the right to choose is an unalienable part of the said dignity because dignified existence cannot be sought where the choice of an individual cannot be upheld; additionally, the judge added that any obstruction and interference to one’s right to choice by an external entity would result in the abrogation of the constitutional sanctity of the right to live with dignity of an adult. The judge pointed out that the obstruction created to bar an adult from lawfully and rightfully consummating its relationship is a violation of the Constitution of India. The judge directed the respondent to provide adequate security to the petitioners, provided the petitioners are of major age and their marriage had been conducted in strict adherence to the relevant laws.

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