The Kerala High Court on Friday allowed a teenage Muslim couple to live together, saying it could no longer “shut its eyes to live-in relationships”, reported The New Indian Express. The court said the woman, who is 19 years old, was free to live with her 18-year-old partner or marry him when he turns 21, the legal age for marriage for men.

The verdict was issued by Justices V Chitambaresh and K P Jyothindranath. They dismissed a petition filed by Muhammed Riyad from Kerala’s Alappuzha district, who had urged the court to direct the police to produce his daughter who, he alleged, was being detained by her partner.

The bench observed that live-in relationships had become a common feature in society and such partners could not be separated by the writ of habeas corpus, reported PTI. “The constitutional court is bound to respect the unfettered right of a major to have a live-in relationship even though the same may not be palatable to the orthodox section of the society,” the court said.

In May, the Supreme Court ruled that an adult couple can be in a live-relationship even if the man is not 21 years old. It set aside a Kerala High Court order that annulled 20-year-old Thushara’s wedding to her husband Nandakumar, who was not 21 when they got married in 2017.