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Marriage Or Live-In?

Marriage depends on a sacrosanct strict function. The relationship between a man and a woman. It is a lawful and social approval as a rule between a man and a woman that is controlled by law, rules, customs, conviction, and perspectives that recommended the rights and obligations of the accomplices concurs status to their posterity. It is treated as hallowed relationships.

A living course of action where an unmarried couple lives under a similar rooftop for a long- term relationship that resembles a marriage is understood as live-in-relationship. Along these lines, it is a kind of course of action wherein a man and woman live respectively without getting hitched.

A live-in relationship not just offers the couple a chance to know the accomplice without having into a lawfully restricting relationship yet additionally prohibit the bedlam of family show and long court systems on the off chance that the couple choose to isolate.

According to article 21 of the Indian constitution, which guarantees right to life and liberty as a fundamental right. So, if the couple decided to live together then they can live and it is within their Right to Life.

In case Indra Sarma v. V.K.V. Sarma[i], it was held that, Live-in relationship is neither a crime nor a sin though socially unacceptable in this country.

The objective of this article is to recognize about the legitimate status of the live-in relationship. The judicial decision in India identified with the concept. The Pros and cons of the live-in relationship. This article additionally discusses about the protection against the exploitation of women and children in live-in relationship.

Legal Status
Live- in relationship includes constant living together between the accomplices with no duties or commitments towards each other. There is no law integrating them. A live-in relationship isn't perceived by the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 or some other rule. Without any law, the court have taken a view that where a man and a woman live respectively as a couple for a long period, the law will assume that they were lawfully hitched unless proved contrary.

Under English law, a marriage was an agreement dependent on a deliberate private agreement by a man and a woman to become a couple. It is seen as a premise of the family until and essential to safeguarding of good and human progress.

The essential components of marriage are:

  1. the parties legal ability
  2. mutual consent
  3. marriage contract as required by law.

The conditions set down are that the couple must hold themselves out to society as being likened to life partners; they must be at legal age which is 18 for women and 21 for men for marrying each other, they must be unmarried before going into a lawful marriage, they must have deliberately lived together for a significant period of time, they must share household, financial arrangement between parties , there must be a socialization of relation in public.

In case Alok Kumar v. State & Anr.[ii] held that the relationship should be established for a considerable time period. Or according to the phrase from Justice Shiv Narayan Dhingra, it should not be walk in and walk out relationship.

In another case, S.P.S. Balasubramanyam v. Suruttayan alias Andali Padayachi & Ors.[iii] the Supreme Court ruled that if man and women living together under the same roof and cohabiting for a number of years, there would be presumption of marriage U/s 114 of The Evidence Act 1872.

In Payal Sharma alias Kamla Sharma alias Payal katara v. Superintendent, Nari Niketan, Kalindri Vihar Agra & Ors.[iv] The court observed that a girl of 21 years of age is major, and can live with anyone. This may regard immoral but it's not illegal.

Legal Rights

The legal rights of couples living in a live-in relationship are:

  • The Supreme Court in many cases said a couple living together for a certain time period has comparable legitimate rights as that of a wedded couple.
  • The Court has also given a right to maintenance under the Domestic Violence Act, 2005. Especially, for the women's and children's who are the part of a live-in relationship.
  • The Court has further stated under Section 2 (f) of the Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act, 2005 that a live-in relationship is going to fall within the said expression - 'relationship within the nature of marriage'.

Protection Against Exploitation Of Women And Children

Maintenance of the women

A man and a woman living together in a live-in relationship does not have a status like husband and wife. Without any status they cannot claim any rights, under property law, maintenance rights, religious, conjugal rights, etc. These rights are absent for them. But in 2008, The National Commission of India recommended The Ministry of Women and Child Development to include female live-In partner for the right of maintenance under section 125 of CrPC 1973.

In case Abhijit Bhikaseth Auti v. State of Maharashtra & Ors.[v] The objective of recommendation was to combine other sections of laws with the protection of women from Domestic Violence Act 2005. It was observed by the Malimath committee that, if man and woman are living together as a husband and wife for considerably long period of time, then the women ought to enjoy the legal status of married women.

Domestic violence

The partner of a live-in relationship was a first-time accorded protection by the protection of women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, which considers females who aren't formally married, but live with a male in a relationship, which is within the nature of marriage, also akin to wife, though not like wife. However, as per Section- 2 (f), it not only applies to a marriage, but also to a relationship in nature of marriage.

Legitimacy of a children out of marriage

Partners cohabitation for a long time may have kids together. The section 16 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 gives grants the status of legitimacy to every child irrespective of his birth out of a void, voidable, or a legal marriage. But there's no specific law that raises any presumption of legitimacy in favour of children of live-in partners.

Custody and Maintenance rights of children

The position on the maintenance right of children out of marriage varies in personal law. For instance, under the Hindu Law the father needs to keep up the child, though under the Muslim Law the father has been acquitted of such a commitment.

However, under Section- 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code, remedy is available for children who are unable to claim maintenance under personal laws. Section- 125 provides a right of maintenance to wives, children.

In case Bharata Matha & Ors. Vs. R. Vijaya Renganathan & Ors[vi]., the Supreme Court held that child born out of a live-in relationship may be allowed to succeed inheritance in the property of the parents, but doesn't have any claim against Hindu Ancestral Coparcenary property.

Pros And Cons Of Live-In Relationship

There are much lesser responsibilities in live-in relationship. People chose live-in relationship because they cannot handle the responsibilities of the marriage. Divorce is a curse in the marriage, where as in live-in there is no such drama. If the partner thinks, they cannot live together then they can easily move on. There is a great advantage of a live-in relationship is that there is a financial freedom. They can easily divide their expenses and it is rarely impossible in marriage.

Social censure is a great disadvantage in live-in relationship. Society hardly accept the live-in relationships especially the old generation doesn't accept such relationships. They are mostly harassed by the society. There is a lack of commitment when it comes to live-in relationships the partner is not ready to give any commitments to each other.
In a live-in relationship the partner may feel suffocated due to lack of personal space. With many troubles they may separate from each other.

In India Live-in relationship is still considered as a taboo. India is known for its culture and values, here they don't consider live-in relation as a proper way to stay together. They think it is an offensive and immoral act. Many courts have given various judgement on the same but no positive response from the society.

However, there is no such legislation regarding live-in relationships. Later, Supreme Court of India stated that live-in relationship is considered as Right to Life and they cannot be held illegal in the eyes of law.

  1. AIR 2006 SC 2522
  2. CRL.M.C. No.4181 /2015
  3. [AIR 1992 SC 756]
  4. MANU/UP/0288/2001
  5. 3 Cri.LJ, 889, 892(Bom.2009)
  6. AIR 2010 SC 2685

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