In India, the legal age to take decisions ,involving transactions with active lawful influence, by Individuals for themselves is eighteen going by the recognised provisions. However, the scenario is different with the independency of decision of marriage, involving fixity of purpose regarding another individual with eighteen and twenty-one as age prerequisite criteria for female and Male respectively ,in the country. The matter is under consideration since spry political deliberation supported the idea to bridge the differential measures for legal age to consent for marriage.
Nonetheless, migrating to the adulthood automatically ceases the barriers to legally exist for an individual to be restricted from taking solitary decisions of marriage, and of any other matter inclusive of decision – the outcome of which will be legally recognised.
Remarking the hurdles, the issue to concern over is whether only legality of decisions and lawfully recognised independency is the factor restricting an individual or the scope is beyond? The answer is in positive. There do exist criterias one has to go through to achieve their intended commitments. Such factors may vary from – Settled societal norms, supposed dependency over guardians, analogous determination of opinion based morality over lawfully sanctioned rights and so on.
Individuals are always supposed to take decisions which are socially acceptable, which means to go by the opinion of others irrespective of personal desires. When not contemplating with the same one has to face boycott, stigma of negativity, hatred from society and at times abandonment by own family members.
Taking the Concept of decision of marriage or to live in together by couples ,the society has always been judgmental towards, with evident efforts to discard and revive back the status by anyhow trying to revert the decisions by force, pressurising tactics and sometimes by legal tugs. However, with judiciary as guardian ,one has always looked upto with a ray of hope to have the freedom of choice for life and liberty settled. There is no basic notion or legislature recognising such relationship although but In the landmark judgement of S. Khusboo v Kanniammal ,the Supreme Court of India had held that live-in relationships come within the scope and ambit of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. However, with the restriction that it is permissible only to the persons, who have reached the age of majority that is eighteen years.
From time to time judicial transparent interference to protect the right to choice of life and privacy with scope of indulging with expansion of subjective facts impacting the direction of life of particular being has proved to establish the trust within the society to break the norms and speak up for Individuality.
Howbeit recently, after shocking incident of consideration by The Punjab and Haryana high court ,in a petition by a couple of lawful age to marry, through statement on the status of Live-in-relationships calling it immoral and socially not acceptable and also further dismissing petition which was filed for protection of their life and liberty, major concerns were raised causing a split between opinions within society.
Live-in relationships are considered taboo and a threat to the fabric of culture in Indian society. Where such relationships are considered a shame for parents and the individuals themselves. In the case of Revanadiddappa v Mallikarjun, Hon’ble Justice Ganguly had stated that live-in relationships might be considered immoral in society, but it is not illegal and that such relationships should not be prohibited for the reason such acts do not attract any penal liability or criminal provisions.
The recent orders by Punjab & Haryana High Court forces us to analyse the lacuna which exist within the society since ages in the name of culture, morality etc to an extent that it impacts the judicial workforces.
With ironically no provision, societal collective confrontations against issues as Marital rape ,for which there is no specific criminal liability or outrage provided it is an outcome of legal wedlock, consent of an individual does really not matter in the society. Neither before marriage nor after it, given the morals must be satisfied. Going by the norms to be sexually active with consent before marriage is blameworthy and punishable, while intercourse with no consent but the prerequisite of marriage being satisfied is adjudged as acceptable. Despite the guaranteed right to equality as described under Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, the deprivation of the right due to the exploitation granted to the society and at times backed by authorities continue to exist. From harassment to extortion at the hands of the Police, parents, family members and different members of the society the fundamental right enshrined seem to fictional and unrealistic for implementations.
Legislative distinction between consensual intercourse and rape is the need of hour. Morality must be based on activities including decision for public at par and not for oneself. The harrassment needs to be stopped where individuals are constantly deprived from taking decisions for one reason or the other. The state of women in the scenario is utterly vulnerable provided they’ve always been subjected to decisions by their families and never on their own, considering them as objects. Marrying them without their will, pressurising them to fulfill their presumed duties, produce children and befit in the criteria of ideal wife/daughter/mother/sister and so on. Living in 21st century ,it’s disheartening to see Individuals still struggling to take decisions without interference and hesitation and more to it when such unacceptable morals are backed by authorities which are meant to protect the rights instead, the fear of harrassment continue to develop and grow within the young minds.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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