STATUS OF CHILDREN BORN OUT OF LIVE IN RELATIONSHIPS AND RIGHTS OF WOMEN

“It is very difficult to understand why in this country so much difference is made between men and women, whereas the Vedanta declares that one and the same conscious self is present in all beings. You always criticize women, but say what you have done for their upliftment”.                                                                            –Swami Vivekanand.

The apex court has clarified that children born out of a live-in relationship could not be called illegitimate. It was held that the mother is the natural guardian of the child. However, it also means that the father is not obliged to fulfil any responsibility related to the child. The courts have also held that a child born out of parents in a live-in relationship may be allowed to inherit the property of the parents, if any, but does not have any claim upon Hindu ancestral coparcenary property.

As there are no specific laws that recognize the status of a couple in a live-in relationship. Hence, the law to the status of children born out of a live-in relationship is also extremely uncertain. As mentioned above, the rights of a child born out of the live-in relationship are-

  1. Legitimacy
  2. Custody
  3. Maintenance
  4. Property

In the case of SPS Balasubramanyam v. Scruttayan,[1] the Supreme Court held that if a man and woman are living together in a live-in relationship and cohabiting from some years. Then, as per Section 114 of the Evidence Act that they were living together as husband and wife and the child born out of them will be illegitimate. In another case of Dimple Gupta v. Rajiv Gupta[2], it was held that an illegitimate child that is born out of the illicit relationship has also right to get maintenance under section 125 of CrPc, 1973. And in the case of Bharat Matha[3], it was held by the Supreme Court that a child born out of live-in relationships a legitimate child and he has the right to access the property of his parents excluding the ancestral undivided property.

A man and women living together in a live-in relationship are partners and not given any status of husband and wife. Without any status of marriage, one cannot claim any rights, such as property rights, maintenance rights, religious rights, conjugal rights, etc. such rights are absent in the term of live-in relationship, so various committees have recommended the equal rights for the women in a live-in relationship as married women.[4]

In 2008, The National Commission of India recommended The Ministry of Women and Child Development to include a female live-in partner for the right of maintenance under section 125 of CrPc 1973. It was supported in the judgement of Abhijit Bhikaseth v. State of Maharashtra and others.[5] It was observed in the Malimath Committee or the Committee on Reforms of Criminal Justice System (a committee set up by V.S. Malimath) that if man and woman are living together as a husband and wife for a considerably long period, then the women ought to enjoy the legal status of married women.

 In another case of Chanmuniya v. Virendra Kumar Singhl[6], it was held that a man who lived with a woman for a long period, though not undergoing any legal necessities of a valid marriage, should be liable to pay maintenance to her if he deserts her. It was further held that a woman in a live-in relationship is entitled to claim any maintenance or relief under the protection of women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

In another case of Lalita Toppo v. State of Jharkhand[7], it was concluded that live-in partners can claim compensation irrespective of the fact whether he/ she is married or not.


[1] AIR 1992 SC 756.

[2] 2007 INSC 1214.

[3] AIR.2010.SC.2685.

[4] Ibid.

[5] AIR 2009 (NOC) 808 (Bom.).

[6] (2011) 1 SCC 141.

[7] AIR 2015 SC 1656.

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.

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