Live-in-relationship means where the partners live together as husband and wife without marriage. It involves continuous cohabitation between the partners without any responsibilities or obligations towards each other. It resembles like marriage but in actual it is little bit different as marriage is a sacred bond accepted by the society whereas on the other hand live-in-relationship is not accepted by the society at large till now.
Change is the law of nature and where right we should change ourselves a bit over time like we have started changing our perspective on live-in-relation. As we live in a society where our customs, rituals, ceremonies, traditions, etc. matter a lot so it will take some time to accept this emerging concept at large.
LAW IN INDIA ON LIVE-IN-RELATIONSHIPS
Marriages are governed by the personal laws of the parties to which they belong but there is no uniform code for Live-In-Relationship. There is neither any law relating to Live-in-relationship nor any enactment which can determine the rights and obligations of the parties living as partners. It is nowhere defined in the law but if two major consenting adults are living together without marriage for a long span of time it is not illegal or unlawful. However, court has interpreted this concept in various judgements. By interpreting it, court ascertained certain rights and is amending the existing legislations so that misuse of such relations can be prevented.
- DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT,2005 : The provisions of the act are now extended to those who are in live-in-relationships as well. The amendments intend to protect the victims of domestic abuse in live-in-relation. Legislature has given the rights and protection to the females not legally married but living with a male individual in a relationship having resemblance of marriage. A woman who is in live-in-relationship can now seek the legal remedy against her partner in case of abuse or harassment.
Section 2 (f) of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 defines :
Domestic Relationship means a relationship between two persons who live or have, at any point of time, lived together in a shared household, when they are related by consanguinity, marriage, or through a relationship in the nature of marriage, adoption or are family members living together as a joint family.
Section 2 (g) of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 provides :
A relationship between the two individuals who live together or have lived together in the past is considered as a domestic relationship.
EVIDENCE ACT,1872 : It raises the presumption of the existence of the fact.
Section 114 of the Evidence act,1872 says :
The court may presume the existence of any fact which it thinks likely to have happened, regard being given to the common course of natural events, human conduct and public and private business, in a relation as to the facts of the particular case. Therefore, where a man and a lady live respectively for a long time as a couple then there would be an assumption of marriage between the two.
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE,1973 :
The Supreme Court of India has confirmed the proposition in Velusamy vs. Patchaiammal case that a woman who was in a live-in-relationship with man not legally wedded is not entitled to claim maintenance under Section 125 of Criminal Procedure Code. However, if such a woman proves that she was in domestic relationship with the man in the nature of marriage would be entitled to claim maintenance under Section 20 (3) of Protection of Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
CHILDREN BORN OUT OF LIVE-IN-RELATIONSHIP :
In January 2008, the Supreme Court held that children born out of live-in-relationships will not be considered as illegitimate.
In Vidyadhari v Sukhrana Bai, the Supreme Court passed a landmark judgement wherein the Court granted inheritance to the children born from the live in relationship in question and ascribed them the status of “legal heirs”.
- Maintenance can also be claimed by a child born out of such live-in-relationship under section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code,1973.
SUPREME COURT OBSERVATIONS AND JUDGEMENTS :
- In the landmark case of S.Khushboo vs. Kanniammal (2010), the Supreme Court held that a live-in-relationship comes within the ambit of right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The court further held that live-in-relationships are permissible and the act of two major living together cannot be considered as illegal or unlawful.
- In Lata Singh vs. State Of U.P & Anr., AIR 2006, the Supreme Court of India observed that live-in-relationship between two consenting adults of heterogenic sex does not amount to any offence (exception adultery which is decriminalized now) , even though it may be perceived as immoral.
- In Indra Sarma vs. V.K.V.Sarma (2013), the Supreme Court observed that live-in-relationship like relations are neither a crime nor a sin though socially unacceptable in this country. The decision to marry or not to marry or to have a heterosexual relationship is intensely personal.
- In its recent judgement in the case of Pardeep Singh and Anr. vs. State Of Haryana
the Punjab & Haryana High Court : Live-In-Relationships not prohibited; such persons are entitled to equal protection of laws.
Live-in-relationships are not illegal or unlawful, if the two consenting adults are living together for a long period of time and that too without marriage.