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August 9, 2023by canonsphere0

This case analysis is done by Isha Srivastava, a 2nd year law student from Jiwaji University, Gwalior. Madhya Pradesh.

Citation: Writ Petition [Criminal] No. 359/2020, AIRONLINE 2021 SC 47

Bench: Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice Harishikesh Roy

Date of Judgement: 08/02/2021


The case Laxmibai Chandaragi vs The State Of Karnataka predominantly revolves around the right of a person, who has attained the legal age for contracting marriage, to marry a person of choice and the influence of parents and the community in one’s matrimonial matters. India has an abundance of matrimonial cases, which are significantly different from one another. This case has a close resemblance with the case titled Shafin Jahan vs K.M. Ashokan, 2018 [(2018) 16 SCC 409]. In this case, which is also known as the ‘Love Jihad Case’, the right of a person to marry against the consent of parents was questioned. The Apex Court has observed in the case that the Constitution Of India provides the Freedom of Choice to every individual regarding choosing a person as a life partner and choosing the religion, thus everyone can marry according to his/her own choice. Thus, the present case is also one such matrimonial case, in which, it was to be found whether the Freedom of Choice in matrimonial matters is applicable or not.

In the judgment of the case, it has been observed by the Supreme Court that the Right to Choose a life partner is a fundamental right under Article 21. Article 21 deals with the Right to life and personal liberty, it states that No person shall be deprived of his life and personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law. Marriage is a very significant social institution in India. It helps in maintaining stability in society and in its expansion. It greatly influences one’s personal life and personal liberty, thus it must be considered as a major component of personal freedom and liberty of an individual. Hence, the Supreme Court held that the right to marry a person of choice is the fundamental right under the ambit of Article 21. It has also been clear in the case that if the persons have attained the legal age of contracting marriage, their choice and wish would be given primacy over the consent of the parents and community. 

Facts of the case

On October 14, 2020, the petitioner in this case, Ms Laxmibai Chandaragi, petitioner no.1 (later on referred to as the lady), went missing from her residence. MrBasappa Chandaragi, the father of the lady, lodged a complaint with the Murgod Police Station, Savadatti Taluk, Belagavi District, in the state of Karnataka stating that his daughter Ms Laxmibai Chandaragi was missing since 14.10.2020. A missing person’s FIR No. 226/2020 was filed in response to the complaint. Investigating Officer recorded the statements of the missing person’s parents and relatives. It was discovered by the IO after obtaining the call records, that the lady was in constant contact with a person, named Mr Santosh Singh Yadav, petitioner no.2 (later on referred to as the man). 

Further investigation revealed that the lady without alerting her parents took the flight from Hubli to Bangalore and then Bangalore to Delhi and thereafter married the man. The very next day, on 15th October 2020 she sent her marriage certificate to her parents via WhatsApp, by which she informed her parents about her marriage with the man (petitioner no.2). Additionally, the Investigation Officer moved from Karnataka to Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh to know about the man. IO visited the man’s place of residence where he was informed by the man’s parents that they were unaware of the whereabouts of the couple. 

Later on, through the written conversation between the lady and IO, the lady informed the IO that she had married the man and is currently living with him. After getting to know about this, IO insisted the lady return to her hometown and appear in the Murgod Police Station, where her statement could be recorded so that the case could be closed. Lady refused to do so by sending a letter to IO stating that she was unable to comply with the IO’s directions as she expressed apprehension for her life that her life could be in danger if she returns to her parents. Consequently, the case was still not closed. Investigating Officer did not consider the words of the lady seriously, and it was discovered from the written transcript of the communication between the lady and the IO, which was submitted to the court, that in order to coerce the lady to return to her hometown, the Investigating Officer threatened the lady and the man of registering a false case of kidnapping against the man and the lady for theft in her house. 

After being repetitively forced by IO, the lady and the man approached Allahabad High Court on 19th October 2020, seeking protection for themselves and for quashing the Missing Person FIR that was filed by the lady’s father. The matter was not taken upon even after about one month even though it was requested to be listed for urgent hearing. 

The present petition has been filed in the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India because there existed an issue of jurisdiction as the lady (petitioner no.1) belonged to Karnataka while she was currently living with the man (petitioner no.2) in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. Article 32 gives the right to individuals to move to the Supreme Court to seek justice when they feel that their rights have been ‘unduly deprived’.


  • Is consent of parents mandatorily required for marriage of the persons who have attained the legal age of contracting marriage?
  • Does the freedom to marry a person of choice fall under the sphere of Article 21? Whether it is considered a component of personal liberty and personal life?
  • Is it necessary in all the cases that the statement has to be recorded in a specifically designated police station? 
  • If a person due to reasonable reasons fails to comply with the orders of a Police Officer, can the police officer bind that person by threatening or imposing false accusations against him?
  • Does society has any influence on the matrimonial matters of any person?

Arguments From The Appellate Side 

  • The knowledgeable lawyer advocating for the petitioners argued that on constantly being compelled by the IO to return their hometown and get the statement recorded in the Murgod Police Station, the lady (petitioner no.1) had clarified to the IO, through the written communication between them, that her life could be in danger if she does so, even then the IO did not record her statement by other possible means and case could not be closed.
  • He added that from the written transcript of the communication between the IO and the lady (petitioner no.1), submitted to the court, it came to know that IO had allegedly threatened the lady (petitioner no.1) and the man (petitioner no.2) of imposing false charges against them.
  • He summed up his argument by saying that the parents of the lady (petitioner no.1) were not in favor of the marriage of their daughter (petitioner no.1) with the petitioner no.2.

While the petitioner no.1 and petitioner no.2 both had attained the legal age of contracting marriage and wanted to enter into the wedlock together.

Arguments From The Respondent Side

  • The learned attorney representing the respondent side in the court filed an appeal arguing that when petitioner no.1 went missing on 14th October 2020, then the complaint was lodged with the Murgod Police Station by the father of petitioner no.1, consequently, the FIR was filed by the Police as it was their part of duty at that time.
  • He further added that the IO compel petitioner no.1 to move to her hometown so that the legal procedure could be completed by recording the statement of the lady, which was a requirement for closing the case. Thus, IO did his part of the duty to close the case by compelling petitioner No.1 and had no intention of not doing so.
  • The claim that the Investigating Officer ever threatened the petitioner was refused by the counsel for the respondent.
  • As per the respondent side parental consent plays a significant role in the matrimonial matter of their son or daughter.

Applied Laws And Related Provisions

Constitution Of India
  • Article 21: Right to life and personal liberty
  • Article 32: Right to move to the Supreme Court when fundamental rights guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution infringed. The Supreme Court under this Article can issue writs according to the facts of the case, for the enforcement of any of the fundamental rights. 
Criminal Procedure Code, 1973

Section 154: Deals with the information of cognizable offences or cases. Cognizable Offences are those offences that are very much serious in nature and gravity, in which the police are empowered to arrest a person, who has committed such offence, without a warrant. 

A piece of information given to the officer in charge discloses the commission of a cognizable offence, is lodged under Section 154 of CrPC, 1973. (Commonly used as FIR). If the information is given through oral communication, then it must be written down in a general diary by the officer. It must be signed by the informant. The informant is given a copy of the FIR, free of cost.

  • Section 482: deals with the inherent powers of the High Court. 


The Judgement, in this case, was rendered by two judges bench consisting of Honorable Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Honorable Justice Harishikesh Roy. 

In the judgement, the conduct of the Investigating Officer was condemned on the grounds of the incompetence of the IO in managing such cases. It stated that IO can use the marriage certificate sent by petitioner no.1 (lady) to her parents and the written letter by her to the IO in which she had clearly mentioned that she had married the man (petitioner no.2) and was not missing but currently living with him, as the statement of the petitioner no.1 for closing the case. Also, the Supreme Court strongly criticized the manner used by the IO to compel petitioner no.1 to return to her hometown and get her statement recorded, as he was already informed by petitioner no.1 that she had a threat from her parents. On IO’s way of threatening or imposing false charges against the petitioners for complying with the IO’s dictates. 

Court not only directed the Police Authorities to counsel the current Investigating Officer but also ordered to organize a training programme to deal with such cases for the betterment and improvement in the case handling techniques of Police Personnel. Court expected the Police Authority, the programme to be devised in the next eight weeks, to lay down some instructions stating how to manage or handle such socially sensitive cases. 

Court further added that with the changing time, various social norms and practices also change. Nowadays, educated and legally competent persons for marriage, are choosing their life partners, which is truly a different thing from earlier norms of society where parental consent and the community’s views used to play a significant role in one’s matrimonial matters. 

In the present world, where a big wave of modernity and liberty hits society so often, by which it becomes very difficult to live with old and conservative social boundaries. Court considered the choice of an individual as an inextricable part of dignity. The bench emphasized that Article 21, which deals with the Right to life and personal liberty or in general words with the Right to privacy, extends to one’s right to choose a life partner. 

In regards to the current case, the missing person FIR, FIR No. 226/2020 was filed by the father of petitioner no.1 on 15.10.2020, registered in Murgod Police Station, Belagavi District, Karnataka, was quashed with the expectation from the parents of petitioner no.1 that they would accept the marriage of their daughter (petitioner no.1) with the petitioner no.2, and re-establish the social interaction not only with petitioner no.1 but also with petitioner no.2.

Conclusion & Analysis

In today’s modern era, where youth is becoming more adaptable and flexible to new things day by day, to marry a person of choice has not remained something new. In India there is an abundance of matrimonial cases, and by deciding each case by the judiciary we get to know a different new aspect of an individual’s matrimonial life. Now, the choice of an individual is also given a significant place in personal life and personal liberty, thus is observed by the court as an inherent component of Article 21. Besides these new thoughts, there are some conservative and old social ideologies in the society which follow and promote old social norms and practices, the conflict between these two results in the emergence of matrimonial disputes and such socially sensitive cases. 

As per the recent judicial pronouncements, when two persons attain the legal age for contracting marriage, can enter into wedlock together if they wish to do so, in such wedlock their parental consent and community intervention do not have much important place. On the other hand, in accordance with old social ideologies, these two factors have an inevitable place in someone’s matrimony. In broad terms, new liberal thoughts are the reason for one’s flexibility and adaptability towards accepting new and better ways of  living life. Contradictory to this, few rigid social norms restrain the person from enjoying new experiences and learning. 

Change is the general rule of nature, one who changed himself and made adaptable to new changes, survived longer. Similarly, in order to reach new heights and achieve big goals it is very important to maintain pace with the changing surroundings. Insofar the present case is concerned, the court also hoped that the parents would happily accept the marriage of petitioner no.1 with petitioner no.2. When both of them are well equipped and qualified, also able to know the nature and consequences of their actions and have attained the legal age for marriage, their marriage will be valid even if the parents of petitioner no.1 did not agree to this, while the parents of petitioner no.2 had no objection to this. 

As the right to choose a life partner is now a part of the Right to life and personal liberty, it will also be treated as one’s fundamental right. And it will also constitute a major portion of an individual’s dignity. 

In context with the behavior of police authority in the present case, the court directed the police authorities to manage a training programme for the training of the police officials in handling such socially sensitive cases, along with this the present IO was sent for the counseling.

Hence, from the above case, it can be concluded that the Right To Marry A Person Of Choice comes under the ambit of Article 21. If someone has attained the legal age for contracting marriage, he/she can enter into the matrimony with the person of choice. Consent of parents’ and community’s views are not mandatory requirements for one’s marriage.


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