The Uttarakhand High Court has directed the state government to allow couples in live-in relationships to directly approach the senior superintendents of police at the district level for protection, reported Live Law.

The state government has been asked to issue “general instructions” to facilitate such a move for live-in couples.

A division-bench of Chief Justice Ritu Bahri and Justice Pankaj Purohit issued the direction on March 15 while dealing with a plea filed by a live-in couple seeking protection from their families, who are opposed to their relationship.

The bench directed that since the couple are adults, the senior superintendent of police of Haridwar should examine their plea and provide them protection if required.

The Bharatiya Janata Party government in Uttarakhand had passed the Uniform Civil Code Bill last month, making it compulsory for couples in live-in relationships to register themselves with the state government or face imprisonment up to three months, along with a fine up to Rs 10,000.

The bill received President Droupadi Murmu’s assent last week, making Uttarkhand the first state to have introduced a Uniform Civil Code after Independence.

The bill mandates that all persons in live-in relationships residing in Uttarakhand, as well as all residents of the state temporarily living outside it, must make a “statement of live-in relationship” to a registrar appointed for this purpose by the state government.

The bill defines a live-in relationship as a relationship between a man and a woman cohabiting “in a shared household through a relationship in the nature of marriage”. However, the bill has not clarified what a “relationship in the nature of marriage” means.

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