The term “live-in-relationship” refers to a situation in which two people are living together.
Western countries are not strangers to live-in relationships. Some have attempted to describe live-in-relationship by stating that it is a living arrangement in which unmarried couples live together to maintain a long-term connection equivalent to marriage.
The fundamental rationale for cohabiting or conducting a live-in relationship, according to some, is that the interested couple wanted to evaluate their compatibility before making a commitment. A live-in relationship is a de facto union in which the pair shares a bed room but does not legally marry. It is a non-marital partnership that exists in the West under several names such as common law marriages, informal weddings, marriage by habit, considered marriages, and so on.
It is a type of interpersonal relationship that is legally recognised as a marriage in some jurisdictions notwithstanding the absence of a legally recognised marriage ceremony, civil marriage contract, or marriage registration in a civil registry.
Some daring couples believe that attending a wedding is a waste of money since they believe their love requires no formal recognition or social drama. According to Osho, all human beings are polygamous by nature, but marriage converts them to monogamy, which is against their nature. As a result, even after marriage, many maintain relationships outside of marriage. We may deduce from the partnerships that live-in couples are still primarily from industries such as entertainment, advertising, and modelling.
According to Samindara Sawant, licensed psychologist at Mumbai’s Disha Counselling Clinic, the trend of live-in relationships has yet to catch on in India, particularly among the middle and upper middle classes, where marriage is still the standard. The majority of live-in partnerships take place in major cities. In a large part of our country, which is made up of villages and towns, such behaviour is still frowned upon. According to one point of view, live-in relationships existed earlier in the form of’maitraya karars,’ which were practised in portions of Gujarat. Due to a variety of factors, including a lack of tolerance and commitment, there is a steady transition from the sacrament of arranged marriages to love marriages, and eventually to live-in partnerships.
Live-in Relationships and the Law
In India, there is no law that specifically addresses live-in relationships. The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 grants legitimacy to children born of ‘void’ and ‘voidable’ marriages, as well as succession and property rights. In the eyes of the law, a void marriage is not a marriage. The question is whether the relationship that exists in a void and voidable marriage is equivalent to a live-in relationship in the popular understanding. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act of 2005 (PWFDVA) also gives some protection to the injured parties from any form of atrocities perpetrated against females living in a “relationship in the nature of marriage.”
This Act has been largely hailed as the first legal recognition of adult heterosexual non-marital relationships. “Any woman who is, or has been, in a domestic relationship with the respondent and who alleges to have been subjected to any act of domestic abuse by the respondent” is defined as a “aggrieved person” who shall be covered by this Act.
Furthermore, the Act establishes as
‘Domestic relationship’ is defined as a romantic life between two people who live or have lived in a shared household at any point in time, when they are related by consanguinity, marriage, or a relationship in the nature of marriage, adoption, or are family members living together as a joint family.’ The Act appears to have broadened the extent of legally recognised domestic partnerships between men and women by using the concept of “relations in the nature of marriage.” The Act appears to have expanded the extent of legally recognised domestic partnerships between men and women by using the concept of “relations in the nature of marriage.” While this provision has drawn much criticism and controversy, it is important to note that it does not make an invalid marriage valid or provide legal recognition to bigamous marriages, according to the report Staying Alive 2009 (Lawyers Collective and ICRW 2009) in a commentary on one case arising out of the Act… This clause simply tries to condemn domestic violence in all forms. It’s not a moral judgement on whether or not cohabiting outside of marriage is moral. As a result, it might be claimed that seeing the Act as giving some type of legal standing on nonmarital relationships is incorrect. It definitely acknowledges the existence of such relationships and women’s right to protection from violence in such relationships.
According to the Justice Mallimath Committee and the Law Commission of India, if a woman has been in a live-in relationship for a fair period of time, she should have the same legal rights as a wife. The Committee also suggested changing the definition of “wife” under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C) to allow a woman in a live-in relationship to be considered a wife. The Committee’s suggestions, on the other hand, are inconsistent. If the committee’s recommendations are followed, a woman can seek maintenance under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. while also being charged with adultery under Section 497 of the IPC. A guy, on the other hand, might face charges of adultery and bigamy while paying support to the woman with whom he is in a bigamous/adulterous relationship.
It becomes clear that the judiciary is unwilling to recognize all live relationships as if they were marriages. Only stable and sufficiently long-term relationships between the parties are eligible for the 2005 Act’s protection. At the same time, it is not opposed to new growing relationships such as live-in relationships, which are particularly prevalent in cities. The judge is also well aware that the law must evolve to meet the changing needs of society. It is also cautious in taking a position on live-in relationships because, under Article 141 of the Indian Constitution, its judgements are binding and constitute the law of the land. When it comes to such sensitive subjects, society expects the judiciary to be consistent. When dealing with such difficulties, the judiciary should be pragmatic rather than dogmatic. It is our opinion that legalising all live-in relationships that are not serious is not suitable.
In this sense, we should not follow what is happening in other nations mindlessly because our country’s societal structure differs from theirs. Simultaneously, we must consider the true pulse of our society in the context of day-to-day activity. The legislation is a response to more traditional and even patriarchal forms of non-marital cohabitation, in which a married man gets into a relationship with another, usually single woman who may or may not be conscious of the man’s marriage status.As a result, these legal developments appear to be in response to the widespread habit of married males engaging in secondary relationships with women. It is not obvious that all forms of non-marital relations can or should be treated as legally identical. In any event, even if they should be treated as such, the decision should be followed by a thorough examination of the ramifications for the various groups. As things stand, the field has been left wide open in the absence of clear social and legal categorization of non-marital relationships, and even the highest judicial functionaries have allowed themselves to preach on the need to distinguish between a “relation in the nature of marriage” and one with a “servant” or a “friend.”
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