Adults’ choice of marriage has constitutional sanction: HC
File photo of J&K High CourtMubashir Khan/ GK

Adults’ choice of marriage has constitutional sanction: HC

‘Can’t succumb to class honour or group thinking’

Srinagar: The High Court (HC) Wednesday termed choosing by two adults as life partners for one another as a “manifestation of their choice” that cannot succumb to the conception of class honour or group thinking.

Deciding a plea by a couple who had entered into wedlock according to the Muslim Personal Law, rites, and customs, a bench of Justice Tashi Rabstan directed the Police to provide adequate security cover to them.

“When two adults consensually choose each other as life partners, it is a manifestation of their choice that is recognised under Articles 19 and 21 of the constitution,” the court said.

It said such a right had the sanction of constitutional law and once recognised, the right needs to be protected and cannot succumb to the conception of class honour or group thinking.

Underscoring that the right has constitutional sanction and needs to be protected, the court said the consent of family or community, or clan was not necessary once two adult individuals agree to enter into wedlock. “Their consent has to be piously given primacy,” the court said.

It said that the concept of liberty had to be weighed and tested on the touchstone of constitutional sensitivity, protection, and values it stands for.

“It is the obligation of the constitutional courts as the sentinel on qui vive (alert) to zealously guard the right to liberty of an individual as dignified existence of an individual has an inseparable association with liberty,” the court said.

The HC said that it was emphatically clear that life and liberty sans dignity and choice was a phenomenon that allows hollowness to enter into the constitutional recognition of the identity of a person.

It said that the choice of an individual was an extricable part of dignity. Observing that dignity could not be thought of where there was the erosion of choice and no one should be permitted to interfere in the fructification of the said choice, the court said, “If the right to express one’s own choice is obstructed, it will be extremely difficult to think of dignity in its sanctified completeness.”

It said that when two adults marry out of their volition, they choose their path, consummate their relationship, feel that it is their goal, and have the right to do so.

The court said that it could unequivocally be said that they had the right and any infringement of the said right was a constitutional violation.

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