The idea of a man & woman of legal age living together without being married is still not acceptable by people in India even after the Supreme Court’s judgement. There is no specific definition of this term ‘live-in-relationship’ but, as far as it is concerned, when two individuals live together under the same roof but both partners enjoy individual freedom without being married to each other, then it is called ‘ Live-in-Relationship’. There are still many societies in India who does not approve the idea of a man& woman living together without getting married. They are of the view that these “couples” will ruin the balance of the sophisticated society. Some couples make a fake marriage certificate so that they can get to live in the concerned society as it would be easy for them to go to work.

Initially there was no law regarding the live- -in relationship plus the status of children born from this relationship was also unclear which would bind the couples, but, as the number of cases started to rise, then, the apex court provided clarity over this issue through various judgments. The court presumes the partners to be husband & wife and therefore, the laws which were applicable to a married couple will be same. Even, the right to maintenance in live in relationship would be applicable as per the Domestic Violence Act, 2005. According to me, live in relationship gives people a chance to know each other truly and understand their partner in a better manner.

The concept of ‘Live-in-Relationship’ has changed the concept of ‘perfect marriage’ and the way people want to live with their partners. Live in relationship may be immoral in the eyes of the conservative Indian society but it is not “illegal” in the eyes of law[1]. In Payal Sharma v. Superintendent, Nari Niketan[2] the Allahabad High Court opined that “a man and a woman, even without getting married can live together if they wish. This may be regarded immoral by society but it is not illegal. It must be noted that merely spending weekends together or a one-night stand would not make it a ‘domestic relationship’.

The Fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India grants to all its citizens “right to life and personal liberty” which means that one is free to live the way one wants. 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[3].

In the recent case of Ajay Bharwaj v. Jyotsana[4], the court awarded a sum of 40 lakhs as maintenance to the women in a live in relationship. The court also recommended that the word ‘wife’ in section 125 CrPC should be amended to include a woman, who is living with a man like his wife for a considerable amount of time. In the case of Tulsa v. Durghatiya[5], the Supreme Court awarded legal status to the children born from a live in relationship. The court was of the view that children from live in relationships have the right to maintenance.


Thus, live in relationships are more widely accepted in foreign countries. But in India, the social stigma goes against the individual way of living. Though, cohabitated relationships have gained legal acceptance in India, but no proper law and procedures are fixed. According to me, the legislature should come up with a bill named ‘ Live-in-relationship Bill’ where the couples facing any kind of problem in their relationship should be solved through that bill/ Act as in near future the live-in relationship would be more popular than marriages & the cases of this would be seen in the courts than family law cases.

[1] Swati Mishra, Live-in-relationship: a problem or a solution,, visited on 06-08-2021 at 18:06hrs.

[2] AIR 2001 All 254.

[3] Garvita Sharma-LIVE-IN RELATIONSHIPS IN INDIA IN THE 21ST CENTURY, LIVE-IN RELATIONSHIPS IN INDIA IN THE 21ST CENTURY: – – Aishwarya Sandeep, visited on 06-08-2021 at 18:22hrs.

[4] 2016 SCC P&H 9707.

[5] (2008) 4 SCC 520.

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.

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