Duty of State to ensure safety of run-away couples from dangers to their life, limb and liberty: A constitutional mandate under Article 21

Punjab & Haryana High Court: A Single Judge Bench of Raj Shekhar Attri, J., allowed a writ petition filed by the petitioners seeking protection from private respondents 4 to 6, since the petitioners apprehend danger to their life, limb and liberty from the hands of private respondents.

The main issue that arose before the Court was whether the petitioners were entitled to get protection on the basis of apprehension of danger.

The Court observed that the Constitutional philosophy completely eradicates discrimination on the grounds of castes, creed, religion, domicile etc. It has propounded the equality and freedom but after a lapse of 68 years since after coming into force of the Constitution of India, the citizens, especially in the rural areas, are under the influence of orthodox phenomenon and believe in the traditional societies. It gravely affects the doctrine of social justice and equality. The petitioners in the present case had provided sufficient evidences of their age and it was proved that they were both majors who got married and were living together. Since both the petitioners are citizens of India, they have a right to live with dignity. The Court referred to its own decision in the case of Pardeep Kumar Singh v. State of Haryana2007 SCC OnLine P&H 1230, wherein several guidelines with regard to safety concerns of run-away couples were laid down by the Court.

The Court held that the petitioners had every right to seek protection of their lives as the same has been guaranteed to them under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. It is incumbent upon the state to ensure the safety of such couples.[Sushmita v. State of Punjab, CRM M No. 49692 of 2018 (O&M), order dated 13-11-2018]

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    What was the order passed by the Hon’ble Court to ensure the safety of the run-away couple?

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