The concept of live-in relationships is not new in India, but the only difference is that people now talk about it publicly. A live-in relationship or cohabitation is an arrangement where two people do not get married but live together, often entering into a romantic or sexual relationship on a long-term or permanent basis. In India, this is considered socially and morally unacceptable, although it is not illegal.

Position within the India

India, a land of cultural values ​​and rituals, cannot be immersed in Western society, but with economic growth and people’s awareness getting stronger, India finally needs to stand up and keep up with the legalized live-in relations in other parts of the world. Moreover, the Supreme Court has ruled that unmarried men and women living together cannot be regarded as criminal offences.

“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.

“Living together is a right to live” the Supreme Court said, apparently referring to Article 21 of the Constitution of India which guarantees right to life and personal liberty as a fundamental right. The Supreme Court made the observation while reserving its judgment on a Special Leave Petition filed by a noted South Indian actress, Khushboo seeking to quash 22 criminal cases filed against her after she allegedly endorsed pre-marital sex in interviews to various magazines in 2005.

The apex court further said the views expressed by Khusboo were personal. “How does it concern you? We are not bothered. At the most it is a personal view. How is it an offence? Under which provision of the law?” the bench asked the counsel. The apex court further asked the complainants to produce evidence to show if any girls eloped from their homes after the said interview.

“How many homes have been affected can you tell us,” the bench asked while enquiring whether the complainants had daughters. When the response was in the negative, they shot back, “Then, how are you adversely affected?”

Live-in relationship is a living environment where unmarried men and women live together as husband and wife without legal sanctions for marriage. This concept has not yet been accepted by the public in India, because it is seen as a violation of Indian culture and moral values ​​and can arouse public outrage. The recent court rulings on live-in relationships have raised public awareness and clarified this social issue.

Court Judgments: Children Born to Live-in Couple are not Illegitimate, Says SC

Court judgments have always given broad interpretation of law to protect the rights of women and children. In live-in relationships, court judgments have considered it important to protect child rights, in particular. In January 2008, a Supreme Court bench that was headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat held that children who are born out of live-in relationships will not be considered illegitimate. It was stated, “Law inclines in the interest of legitimacy and thumbs down ‘whoreson’ or ‘fruit of adultery.’”

In August 2010, the Supreme Court held that a live-in relationship that has existed for a long time will be considered a marriage and that the children born to such a couple will not be illegitimate. Justice P Sathasivam and Justice BS Chauhan of the Supreme Court passed this judgment and it will have strong legal implications on disputes relating to the legitimacy of children who are born to live-in partners.

Court Judgments: Domestic Violence Act Applicable to Live-in Relationships

Different court judgments have discussed on different disputes pertaining to live-in relationships. Live-in relationships are now considered with marriage under a new Indian law pertaining to domestic violence. The provisions of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 are now extended to those who are in live-in relationships as well. The amendments intend to protect the victims of domestic abuse in live-in relationships. Section 2 (g) of the aforementioned Act provides that a relationship between two individuals who live together or have lived together in the past is considered as a domestic relationship. A woman who is in a live-in relationship can seek legal relief against her partner in case of abuse and harassment. Further, the new law also protects Indian women who are trapped in fraudulent or invalid marriages.

A woman who is subject to any form of violence in a live-in relationship as well as a marital relationship can file a complaint under section 498 A, IPC. She can also seek relief through protection orders, compensation and interim orders citing sections 18 to 23 of the Domestic Violence Act.


From the above discussion, I have come to the conclusion that, given that India’s current social background is the foundation of tradition and culture, there is an urgent need for legal regulation of life in relationships, which shows a clear picture. Legal status, but only after an important period of cohabitation can the rights of spouses and children born in a particular relationship be protected.

In my opinion, the coexistence of middle and upper-class cultural youth in the city began as a declaration of independence, a way to break the bondage of marriage; in fact, it was a deliberate rejection of the marriage system. In my opinion, the right of husband and wife should be recognized in law while ensuring that it does not interfere with the marriage system.

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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The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

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We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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