India is a country, which is slowly opening its doors to western ideas and lifestyles, one of which is the concept of live in relationships. A relationship of a man with a woman in legal parlance is legitimate if it is based on proper marriage and illegitimate if not as per Marriage Laws. The live-in relationship is a living arrangement in which an unmarried couple lives together in a long-term relationship that resembles a marriage. In every day parlance, it is cohabitation. The basic idea of conducting a live-in relationship is that the interested couple wants to test their compatibility for each other before going for some commitment. In most places, it is legal for unmarried people to live together, although some zoning laws prohibit more than three unrelated people from inhabiting a house or apartment. A few states still prohibit fornication, or sexual relations between an unmarried man and woman, but such laws are no longer enforced.
Right to live with a partner of one’s choice is a necessary coincident of right to life and personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The Supreme Court has, in several rulings, held that live-in-relationships are not illegal. In the case of S. Khushboo v. Kanniammal & Anr., (2010) it was held that living together is a right to life. In Indra Sarma v. VKV Sarma (2013) the court observed, “Live-in or marriage like relationship is 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.”
There are following requirements to fulfil the criteria of live-in relationship: –
- Legal age to marry
- Qualify to enter legal age
- Must be unmarried
- Voluntary cohabitation should be considerable period of time
- Shared household
- Pooling of resources and financial arrangement between parties
- Domestic arrangements
- Socialization of relation in public
Position outside the India
The European countries are worst affected by ‘Live-in –relationship’. In most places, it is legal for unmarried people to live together. The law introduced in 1999 in France makes provisions for “civil solidarity pacts” allowing couples (even of same sex) to enter into a union and be entitled to the same rights as married couples in such areas as income tax, inheritance, housing and social welfare. Couples, who want to enter into such a relationship may sign up before a court clerk and can revoke the contract unilaterally or by bilaterally with a simple declaration, made in writing, which gives the partner three months’ notice.
Article 147, of the Family Code, Philippines provides that when a man and a woman who are capacitated to marry each other, live exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage or under a void marriage, their wages and salaries shall be owned by them in equal shares and the property acquired by both of them through their work or industry shall be governed by the rules on co-ownership.
Position within the India
India a country of cultural values and ritual ceremonies cannot afford to plunge into western society. But since growing economy and people getting more and more aware, India finally has to step ahead and walk with the rest of the world by legalizing Live-in relationship. A country like India would allow its citizens to do that, but its fact. Further pre-marital sex and live-in partners, the Supreme Court today opined that a man and woman living together without marriage cannot be construed as an offence.
“When two adult people want to live together what is the offence. Does it amount to an offence? Living together is not an offence. It cannot be an offence,” a three-judge bench of Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, Deepak Verma and B S Chauhan observed. The court said even Lord ‘Krishna and Radha’ lived together according to mythology. The apex court said there was no law which prohibits live-in relationship or pre-marital sex.
Illegality is different from immorality. People may regard live-in-relationships as immoral, but that is their own perception which cannot be allowed to influence anyone else’s personal decision. Live-in relationships in India are increasing and are gaining acceptance. Now, people are increasingly respecting individual choices in cases of relationships. Every kind of relationship have certain advantages and disadvantages. Choosing the type of relationship is just a matter of personal preferences.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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