“Living with the partner has no defined meaning or scope. The phrase “live-in relationship” refers to a living situation in which an unmarried couple lives together in a long-term relationship that mimics marriage. To the outside world, a pair portrays themselves as a couple. ‘Live in a relationship’ refers to a relationship in which the parties are not married in the sense of a legal marriage solemnization. Nonetheless, the parties live as a couple, demonstrating to the rest of the world that their relationship is stable and consistent.
A ‘common law marriage’ is a term used to describe such a partnership. Marriage is a wonderful feeling that can unite people of every skin tone, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or sexual orientation. Yet, having more time altogether, and perhaps even moving in together, can help couples strengthen and discover their love for one another. The terms “marriage” and “live-in relation” become relevant in this context.
It is generally believed by society and the law that married spouses should live together. Social acceptance has its own allure and gratification. Young folks nowadays can stay with their spouses even without the constraints of arranged weddings because of the rise of live-in relationships. There are benefits and drawbacks to all these societally created ways of expressing and experiencing love and romance.
Live-in Relationships and the Law
“There is no explicit legislation in India that addresses live-in partnerships. The Hindu
Marriage Act of 1955 provides legitimacy, succession, and property rights to children born in ‘void’ and ‘voidable’ marriages. The 2005 Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act also provides some protection to the wounded parties from any sort of atrocity performed against females in “relationships like marriage”.”
“A woman in a live-in relationship is entitled to the same legal rights as a wife if she has been in such a relationship for a reasonable period. This does not make an invalid marriage valid or provide legal recognition to bigamous marriages. While giving support to the woman with whom he is in a bigamous/adulterous relationship, a man may face allegations of adultery and bigamy.”
The Treatment of Live-in Relationships by Indian Judges
“The Indian judiciary does not explicitly promote or condemn such live-in relationships. In each case, the judiciary simply dispenses justice by the law. The primary goal of the judiciary is to prevent a miscarriage of justice. The judiciary analyses cultural norms and constitutional principles while deciding cases. The meaning of the term “like marriage” is not immediately clear, and the PWEDVA is already arguing about it.”
“The petitioner in Aruna Parmod Shah Vs UOI challenged the Act’s validity, claiming that it discriminates against men and that Section 2(f) of the Act’s definition of “domestic relationship” is unconstitutional. In the second instance, the petitioner argued that equating “marriage-like relationships” with “married” status deprives the lawfully married wife of her rights. The Delhi High Court dismissed both challenges to the Act’s constitutionality. In answer to the second charge, the court ruled that a wife, as well as a woman living with a man as his “common law” wife or even a mistress, should be regarded similarly. In this decision, the judges defined “a connection resembling marriage” to encompass both a “common law marriage” and a relationship with a “mistress,” without going into detail about the legal and social consequences of these terms.”
The Allahabad High Court held in Payal Katara Vs Superintendent Nari and Others that anybody above the age of 21 has the right to travel and that anyone, man, or woman, can live together if they like. In the case of Patel and others, the Supreme Court declared that a live-in relationship between two adults who are not married is not illegal. The Supreme Court ruled in Lata Singh Vs State of U.P. & Anr that live-in relationships are only permitted between married important individuals of different genders.”
“The Apex Court ruled in the Radhika Vs State of M.P. that if a man and woman have been living together for a long time, they would be regarded married and their child will be declared genuine. In Abhijit Bhikaseth Auto Vs State of Maharashtra and Others, the Supreme Court of India declared on September 16, 2009, that a woman does not have to establish her marriage to be entitled to maintenance under section 125 of the Cr.P.C. Under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code, a woman in a live-in relationship may be entitled to assistance.”
“The Supreme Court awarded the live-in partner the status of the wife in Chellamma Vs Tillamma7. Katju J. and Mishra J. both stated that a man and a woman can live together even if they are not married in their opinion. Although society considers this immoral, it is not illegal. It is important to distinguish between law and morality.
The court went even further, declaring that children born to such a parent are legitimate and valid. The heirs of such a person can only inherit the property of his or her parents. This is because such offspring are not granted coparcenary rights to their parents’ inherited Hindu undivided family property.
During S.P.S. Balasubramanyam v. Suruttayan, the Supreme Court ruled that children born to unmarried parents in a common-law relationship are entitled to legal protection (1993). The Supreme Court has ruled that under Article 14 of both the Indian Evidence Act, of 1872, a probability of marriage exists when a man and a woman share a home and live together for a prolonged period. This means their offspring can officially be a part of the family tree and perhaps get an inheritance.
The Apex Court ruled in Bharatha Matha v. Vijaya Renganathan (2010) that babies living with cohabiting couples are entitled to a share of their parent’s assets. The Apex Court determined that, if the connection lasts long enough, a kid born in such a situation may not be regarded as an illegitimate immigrant.
They are the legal proprietors of their parents’ possessions. One benefit of the ruling is that it will not only deter couples from hastily divorcing, but it will also encourage couples to have children, who were previously anxious about their children’s future if they divorced. In Madan Mohan Singh & Ors. Vs Rajni Kant & Anr, the court held that a long-term live-in relationship cannot be deemed a “walk in and walk out” relationship and that the parties are presumed to be married.”
India’s highest court has ruled that a live-in relationship is not a crime in the case of D. Velusamy Vs D. Patchaiammal. The petition alleges that the appellant moved out of the respondent’s father’s house after two or three years and began living in his own country, but that he continued to visit the respondent regularly. According to the lower Family Court, the appellant was married to the respondent, not Lakshmi. The High Court and the Family Court Judge in Coimbatore’s rulings were overruled, and the matter was remanded to be considered again by the law.”
“According to the judges in the case, the word marriage is not specifically defined in the PWDVA, 2005. The judges decided that a “relationship like marriage“ is equal to common- law marriage, tying it to the prevalent “live-in” partnerships in the west. If a man had a ‘keep,’ whom he financially supports and hires solely for sexual purposes and/or as a servant, it would not be a marriage-like arrangement, the judges said. A ‘domestic relationship’ is more than merely hanging around on weekends or having a one-night stand. The Supreme Court’s ruling would exclude many ladies who have had a live-in relationship from benefiting from the 2005 Act.”
By stating this, the judges appear to be implying that the term “live in relationship” has a far broader scope than “relationship like marriage”. In 2010, the New Jersey State Assembly passed a law requiring the parties to have a formal agreement before asserting palimony. Palimony is a phrase used in the United States to denote the provision of maintenance to a woman who has lived with a man for a long time without marrying him and then been abandoned by him. In Alok Kumar Vs State & Anr, the complainant sought to have his First Information Report (FIR) dismissed.”
- “Legal system does not want to recognize all live-in partnerships as marriages. Only solid and sufficiently long-term relationships between the parties qualify for protection under the 2005 Act. “
- “Simultaneously, it is not hostile to new emerging partnerships such as live-in couples, which are particularly common in cities. The judge should be pragmatic rather than dogmatic when dealing with such issues. “
- “In the absence of unambiguous social and legal categorization of non-marital relationships, the field has been left wide open.”
- “Even the highest court authorities preach on the need to separate a “relation like marriage” from a “servant” or a “keep” and a “one night stand”. It should also be noted that none of these legislative measures are intended to encompass the entire spectrum of live-in partnerships.”
“It is encouraging for the country that, rather than ignoring the problem, it has opted to take steps to safeguard women living in shared households, even if they are not married. Given India’s social and cultural context, enacting legislation to govern live-in relationships would be unwise. Most individuals choose this option to escape the burden and commitments that come with a long-term commitment.
In the event of a dispute on whether to continue the partnership, a partner is free to come and go as he pleases without the tedium and complication of divorce processes. That is how some people prefer it. It is not the job of the government to regulate and monitor human lives and decisions on such a minute scale. “
“It is a person’s choice whether to marry or get into a live-in relationship. I believe that the existing system in the United Kingdom and other nations should be studied. Couples should be able to sign cohabitation contracts outlining their rights and responsibilities if they so want.”
“Even then, the rights and responsibilities will be limited in comparison to those granted in marriage. Another important aspect to consider is that, even under the Domestic Violence Act of 2005, the man in a live-in relationship has no legal rights. This part of Indian legislation must also be investigated.”
“In India’s current marriage laws, common-law marriages, or partnerships in the form of marriage must be recognized and provided for. Wherever there is a need to change the legislation to give rights and responsibilities for such a partnership, it should be done. There is a need to restructure the legal system to meet societal changes, but there is no need to establish new and distinct legislation to do so.”
- Landmark Judgments- Live-In Relationship: SC’s Judgments Concerning the Legal
Standing Of Live-In Relationships lawyersclubindia,
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Written by- Anushka Satwani
 Aruna Parmod Shah Vs UOI 2008(102) DRJ543.
 Payal Katara Vs Superintendent Nari and Others AIR 2001 All 254.
 Lata Singh Vs State of U.P. & Anr AIR 2006 SC 2522.
 Radhika Vs State of M.P. AIR 1966 MP 134, (1969) ILLJ 623 MP.
 Abhijit Bhikaseth Auto Vs State Of Maharashtra and Others AIR 2009 (NOC) 808 (Bom.). 7 Chellamma Vs Tillamma AIR 2009 SC 112.
 Madan Mohan Singh & Ors. Vs Rajni Kant & Anr AIR 1992 SC 756
 D. Velusamy Vs D. Patchaiammal 2010 10 SCC 469
 Alok Kumar Vs State & Anr 1968 AIR 453, 1968 SCR (1) 813