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Live-In Relationship

By Gursimar

If we look back into the ancient history of India , marriage was considered a sacred institution and an important social and religious duty. The Vedas and later texts prescribed rituals and ceremonies for marriage, emphasizing the importance of monogamous relationships and family stability. Dharmashastra texts, such as Manusmriti and Yajnavalkya Smriti, provided guidelines on family and social conduct, including rules for marriage and family life. These texts generally promoted the ideal of marriage as a sacrament (samskara). Hindu marriage is not only a religious sacrament but also a legal contract under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. The primary purpose of Hindu marriage is to fulfill the four main goals of life (purusharthas): Dharma (righteousness), Artha (prosperity), Kama (pleasure), and Moksha (liberation).


Due to the modernization and westernization Indian society is undergoing dynamic social changes which gave rise to  the concept of LIVE IN RELATIONSHIP refers to a domestic arrangement where two people in a romantic or intimate relationship live together without being legally married. It is characterized by cohabitation and a shared living arrangement, similar to that of a married couple, but without the formalities and legal obligations of marriage.


Although, it does not have a specific legal framework in many countries, including India. However, some legal protections may apply in certain contexts, such as inheritance rights, domestic violence protections, and maintenance claims.

The Indian Supreme Court has ruled, however, that cohabiting as partners without getting married is neither unlawful nor criminal. Although they are not entitled to the same legal protections as married couples, live-in partners do enjoy certain legal protections. To safeguard the rights of people in live-in relationships, it is crucial to comprehend the legal framework that governs them in India. Living together does not grant partners the same legal privileges as married couples receive. For instance, cohabiting partners are not entitled to maintenance in the event of a separation and cannot inherit each other's belongings. But if a child is born, he may have a same legal right as of a child born out of legally married couple. Initially the concept of live in relationship was not being given any legal status for instance,  Gulzar Kumari v. State of Punjab and Ujjawal v. State of Haryana, the Court refused to grant protection to couples cohabiting in a live-in relationship, stating that such relationships are morally and socially unacceptable, capable of destroying the social fabric of the Indian society. But as the society is dynamic and it keeps on changing so with change in time the laws need to be given a slight turn which has become a necessity to cope with the upgradation and modernization in society.First time when the legal system recognized the concept of LIVE IN RELATIONSHIP was in  "Khushboo vs. Kanniammal" case In this instance, the court ruled that two consenting adults had the right to live together without getting married and that live-in relationships were neither unlawful nor immoral.In a historic ruling in the 2015 case of D. Velusamy v. D. Patchaiammal, the Supreme Court of India acknowledged that, in certain situations, a long-term live-in relationship could qualify as a legitimate marriage. The court further decided that after a divorce, women in live-in partnerships are entitled to support from their partners.. For instance, in 2017, the Supreme Court recognised privacy as a fundamental right in KS. Puttaswamy v. Union of India. Article 21 which state the citizen have right to Life and Personal liberty may  from 2017 will be including right to privacy. A new concept which is brought into the society needs to be equally backed by the law to gain its validity and so that the people may not face any kind of discrimination and there rights may be protected. However , no such law has been passed yet regarding it but so that either of the partners in a live in relationship doesn’t face any such inequality or discrimination few rights are brought into consideration they may include-

1-RIGHT TO INHERENT PROPERTY FOR CHILDREN-As stated by the Supreme Court of India, living with the individuals for a significant duration without marriage are considered married and therefore entitled to all legal privileges. In accordance with Section 16 of the Hindu Marriage Act, offspring have rights to the self-acquired assets of their parents. Furthermore, under the Criminal Procedure Code Section 125 (1) (a), children possess the entitlement to maintenance, even if not provided by the laws of their parents, and live-in partners are obligated to uphold the duty of care for their children, irrespective of their relationship status.

2- RIGHT TO CUSTODY OF CHILDREN- As stated by the Supreme Court the child born out of these kinds of relationship may be held as legitimate and be considered as child born out of the legalized marriage. Although no such judgments have been passed regarding the custody of the child. In Balasubramanyam v. Suruttayan, children born out of live-in relationships received the criminal status of legitimacy for the primary time. The splendid SC stated that if a person and female stay underneath the same roof and cohabit for giant years, there may be a presumption of marriage under section 114 of the evidence Act. Consequently, the child born to them can be taken into consideration legitimate and rightfully entitled to acquire a percentage in ancestral property.

3- RIGHT TO MAINTAINENCE- Section 125 (1) (a) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 talks about the maintenance of the women, child which may also apply on the case related to the LIVE IN RELATIONSHIP  if at the time of the unmarried couple staying together for a long period of time wants to apart there ways then the spouse who is earning will be providing maintenance to the opposite spouse as well as the child born out of that relationship. In Chanmuniya v. Virendra Kushwaha, the Supreme Court overruled the previous verdict,  upholding the right of a female in a live-in courting to claim maintenance under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. The intent behind entitling a woman in a stay-in dating to this type of right is to make certain that a person does no longer take benefit of felony loopholes by taking part in the benefits of a de facto marriage without pleasant the duties of that marriage.

4- PROTECTION OF WOMEN FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE-The Apex Court held in D. Velusamy v. D. Patchaiammal (2010) that, although interpreting the Acts of Parliament by distinguishing between marriage and a relationship similar to marriage, a person in either case is entitled to protection under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. The Court also stated the circumstances in which a person may request protection under the 2005 Act, and further held that not all live-in relationships will benefit from the 2005 Act, and that the requirements listed must be met in order to receive the benefit of the 2005 Act.


Due to the due negligence at part of the legislatives the concept of live in relationship has not been given any legal protection under any regulations and rules. Live-in connections have become more common in India as of late, and the lawful structure for such connections is advancing. While there is no particular regulation in India that oversees live-in connections, the courts have perceived the legitimacy of such connections and have given lawful assurance to people in such connections through different decisions.

The courts have held that live-in connections are not unlawful or corrupt, and grown-ups reserve the privilege to live respectively regardless of whether they are not hitched. The courts have additionally held that ladies in live-in connections are qualified for similar privileges as lawfully wedded spouses, including security under the Aggressive behavior at home Demonstration and upkeep.

Notwithstanding, there are as yet numerous lawful and social difficulties looked by couples in live-in connections in India, including property privileges, authority of kids, and social shame. The public authority and society really should perceive and acknowledge live-in connections as a genuine type of friendship and give more legitimate security to people in such connections.

By and large, the legitimate structure for live-in connections in India is as yet developing, and there is a requirement for additional extensive regulations and strategies to resolve the different issues and difficulties looked by couples in such connections.



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