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Posted Oct 2017
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~~Live in relationship’ is a living arrangement in which an unmarried couple lives together in a long term relationship that resembles a marriage. Such a relationship is also known as Common law marriage i.e. informal marriage or marriage by habit and repute live in relationships has emerged as a substitute for marriages. The number of people opting for live in relationships seems to be increasing especially in the metros. The change is evident from the court rulings which have recognized these relationships and have ushered in provisions to protect women from undue harassment as these relations guarantee very little in terms of security. This form of living together is not recognized by Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 or any other statutory law. While the institution of marriage promotes adjustment; the foundation of live in relationships is individual freedom. Though the common man is still hesitant in accepting this kind of relationship, the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 provides for the protection and maintenance thereby granting the right of alimony to an aggrieved live-in partner.
The definition of live in relationships is not clear and so is the status of the couples in a live in relationship. There is no specific law on the subject of live in relationships in India. There is no legislation to define the rights and obligations of the parties to a live in relationships The government, however, has been taking various measures for the past few years (especially after the intervention from the judiciary) to protect the interest of female live in partners. The first case in which the Supreme Court of India first recognized the live in relationship as a valid marriage was that of Badri Prasad vs. Dy. Director of Consolidation, in which the Court gave legal validity to the a 50 year live in relationship of a couple. In the case of S. Khushboo vs. Kanniammal & Anr., the Supreme Court held that living together is a right to life. Live in relationship may be immoral in the eyes of the conservative Indian society but it is not “illegal” in the eyes of law. However in one of its judgment Alok Kumar vs. State, the Delhi High Court has held that live in relation is walk in and walk out relationship and no strings are attached to it. This kind of relationship does not create any legal bond between the partners. It further held that in case of live in relationships, the partners cannot complain of infidelity or immorality. In Varsha Kapoor vs UOI & Ors., the Delhi High Court has held that female living in a relationship in the nature of marriage has right to file complaint not only against husband or male partner, but also against his relatives. The Apex Court also said that in case the man dies then his partner would inherit his property. Sine 2010 Supreme Court has ruled in favour of women declaring that women should get the rights as that of a wife, in case of live in couples. These rights include protection from domestic violence, the right to inherit property, the legitimacy of her children and the maintenance of woman after split.
As in the interest of justice, equality and good conscience the Indian judiciary has already been passed a number of judgments in favour of live-in relationship now it is only on the society to come forward and accept the concept of live- in relationship.
Posted Oct 2017
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