LIVE-IN RELATIONSHIPS IN INDIA IN THE 21ST CENTURY: –

India is a nation, which is gradually opening its entryways for western thoughts and ways of life and a standout amongst the most essential scenes among it, is the idea of live seeing someone. People are slowly and gradually opening their minds towards the idea of pre-marital sex and live-in relationships. However, this change has been continuously under criticism and highly discussed as such concepts lack legality and acceptance by the society.

In India there exists only one kind of relationship between an unrelated  couple of a male and female. The said social union is termed as “Marriage”, which is more of a sacrament and a divine concept and is practiced as a ritual since ages. But for number of reasons this concept is loosing its divineness. Love can not be the only  reason   to   marry,   sometimes   marriages   are   forced   on   couples.   Therefore   a   live   in  relationship introduced in society as a substitute for marriage. But now a days it is no more substitute, it is having its own stand in society and in law of the country. In India there exists only one kind of relationship between an unrelated  couple of a male and female.

The said social union is termed as “Marriage”, which is more of a sacrament and a divine concept and is practiced as a ritual since ages. But for number of reasons this concept is loosing its divineness. Love can not be the only  reason   to   marry,   sometimes   marriages   are   forced   on   couples.   Therefore   a   live   in  relationship introduced in society as a substitute for marriage. But now a days it is no more substitute, it is having its own stand in society and in law of the country.

In India there exists only one kind of relationship between an unrelated  couple of a male and female. The said social union is termed as “Marriage”, which is more of a sacrament and a divine concept and is practiced as a ritual since ages. But for number of reasons this concept is loosing its divineness. Love can not be the only  reason   to   marry,   sometimes   marriages   are   forced  on   couples.   Therefore   a   live   in relationship introduced in society as a substitute for marriage.

But now a days it is no more substitute, it is having its own stand in society and in law of the country. In India, there exist only one kind of relationship between a man and a woman i.e., Marriage. The term marriage is more of a sacrament and a divine concept and is being practiced since very long. But now a days, it is losing its importance because love is not the only reason to marry, sometimes marriages are forced on couples also. Therefore, “Live-in relationship” is introduced as a substitute in the society. But now a days it is no more a substitute, it is having its own stand in the society and law.

In Live-in relationships, the couples are not married to each other but are living together under the same roof that resembles a relation like marriage. But in India, only those relations between a man and a woman are considered to be legitimate where marriage has taken place between the two based on existing marriage laws otherwise all other sort of relationships are deemed to be illegitimate.

The reason behind people choosing to have a live-in relationship is to check the compatibility between couples before getting legally married. It also exempts partners from the chaos of family drama and lengthy court procedures in case the couple decides to break-up. Whatever the reason, it is very evident that in a conventional society like ours, where the institution of marriage is considered to be “sacred” an increasing number of couples choose to have a live-in relationship, even as a perpetual plan, over marriage. In such circumstances, many legal and social issues have arisen which have become the topic of debate. With time many incidents have been reported and seen where partners in live-in relationships or a child born out of such relationship have remained vulnerable for the very simple reason that such relationships have been kept outside the realm of law. There has been gross misuse by the partners in live-in relationships since they do not have any duties and responsibilities to perform.

LEGAL POSITION OF LIVE-IN RELATIONSHIPS: –

Live-in relationship between consenting adults is not considered illegal under the Indian law. In 2006, in the case of “Lata Singh v. State of U.P,” it was held that a live-in relationship between two consenting adults of opposite sex, though perceived as immoral, does not amount to any offence under the law.1 In another important case “Khushboo vs Kanaimmal and another,” the Supreme Court observed “Though the concept of live-in relationship is considered immoral by the society, but is definitely not illegal in the eyes of the law. Living together is a right to life and therefore it cannot be held illegal.”

Live-in relationship between consenting adults is not considered illegal under the Indian law. In 2006, in the case of “Lata Singh v. State of U.P,” it was held that a live-in relationship between two consenting adults of opposite sex, though perceived as immoral, does not amount to any offence under the law.1 In another important case “Khushboo vs Kanaimmal and another,” the Supreme Court observed “Though the concept of live-in relationship is considered immoral by the society, but is definitely not illegal in the eyes of the law. Living together is a right to life and therefore it cannot be held illegal.”

RIGHTS AVAILABLE TO LIVE-IN RELATIONSHIPS: –
There is no particular law regarding the matter of live-in relationship in India. There is no enactment to lay down the rights and commitments for the parties in a live-in relationship, and for the status of children born to such couples. There is no legal definition of live-in relationship and in this way the lawful status of such sort of connections is likewise unverified. The Indian law does not give any rights or obligations to the parties of live-in relationships. However, court has clarified the concept of live-in relationship through various judgments. Though law is still unclear about the status of such relationship yet few rights have been granted by interpreting and amending the existing legislations so that misuse of such relationships can be prevented by the partners. 

  1. Domestic Violence Act, 2005-

For the very first time in Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (PWDVA), the legislature has acknowledged live-in relationships by giving rights and protection to those females who are not legally married, but rather are living with a male individual in a relationship, which is in the idea of marriage, additionally akin to wife, however not equivalent to wife.

  • Criminal Procedure Code, 1973-

Section 125 CrPC was incorporated in order to avoid vagrancy and destitution for a wife/minor child/old age parents, and the same has now been extended by judicial interpretation to partners of a live-in relationship.

  • Evidence Act, 1872-

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 spell of time as a couple then there would be an assumption of marriage.

  • Judicial Response-

Indian judiciary has taken a lead to fill the gap that was created in absence of any specific statute relating to live-in relationships. It may be considered immoral in the eyes of society but it is not at all “illegal” in the eye of the law. The intention of Indian judiciary is to render justice to the partners of live-in relationships who, were earlier not protected by any statute when subjected to any abuse arising out of such relationships. Judiciary is neither expressly promoting such concept nor prohibiting such sort of relationships. It is, however, just concerned that there should not be any miscarriage of justice. Therefore, while deciding various cases, the judiciary has kept in mind various factors including both societal norms and constitutional values.

CONCLUSION: –

Live-in relationships provide the couples a greater opportunity to know each other better together with a freedom to end the relationship as per their wish. But they have to face many social and legal hurdles. Such relationship puts women often in a disadvantageous position. The Supreme Court has issued guidelines for regulating such relationships and also for protecting the rights of women involved in the relationship and children born out of it, which has been described above. Social values and norms have changed for the new generation. Live-in relationship may be ok in some circumstances but the importance of the institution of marriage for maintaining the social order cannot be denied. From a psychiatrist point of view, what is more important is to get engaged into a positive, lovable, and meaningful relationship than to remain alone or remain trapped in an unhappy, negative, and troublesome relationship.

Aishwarya Says:

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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If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at adv.aishwaryasandeep@gmail.com

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