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LIVE-IN RELATIONSHIPS: IMPACT ON MARRIAGE INSTITUTION

Subject – Family Law-I

Submitted to: Dr. Vijender Kumar


Professor of Law

Submitted by: Abhishek Kumar Singh


Roll no. – 2011-04
Ist Year, IInd Semester

NALSAR University of Law,


Justice City, Shameerpet, Hyderabad
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CASES .................................................................................................................... i
TABLE OF STATUTES............................................................................................................ii
TABLE OF ABBREVATIONS ............................................................................................... iii
CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................... 1
1.1 Differentiations............................................................................................................ 2
1.2 Research Plan ................................................................................................................... 2
1.3 Research Methodology .................................................................................................... 3
CHAPTER II LIVE-IN RELATIONSHIPS IN INDIA............................................................. 4
CHAPTER III POSITION OF LIVE-IN RELATIONSHIPS ABROAD.................................. 7
SCOTLAND .......................................................................................................................... 7
FRANCE ................................................................................................................................ 7
UNITED KINGDOM ............................................................................................................ 7
CANADA .............................................................................................................................. 8
IRELAND .............................................................................................................................. 8
AUSTRALIA ......................................................................................................................... 8
UNITED STATES ................................................................................................................. 8
CHAPTER IV PROS AND CONS OF LIVE-IN RELATIONSHIPS ...................................... 9
CHAPTER V RIGHTS OF WOMEN IN A LIVE-IN RELATIONSHIP IN INDIA ............. 11
5.2 Rights of Child born through a Live-In Relationship .................................................... 12
5.3 Inheritance Rights .......................................................................................................... 13
CHAPTER VI EFFECT IN THE SOCIETY ........................................................................... 15
6.1 Breaking down of marriage institution .......................................................................... 15
6.2 In and out relationship ................................................................................................... 15
6.3 Anti-Hindu and live-in relationship ............................................................................... 15
6.4 Negative identity ............................................................................................................ 16
6.5 Weakens social relationship ........................................................................................... 16
CHAPTER VII CONCLUSION .............................................................................................. 17
Suggestions .......................................................................................................................... 17
BIBLIOGRAPHY ..................................................................................................................... iv
TABLE OF CASES
Abhijit auti v State of Maharastra………………………………………………………….12
A Dinohamy v. WL Blahamy………………………………………………………………..5
D Veluswami v D Patchaimal………………………………………………………………11
Gokal Chand v. Pravin Kumari………………………………………………………………5
Malti v. State of Uttar Pradesh……………………………………………………………….4
S Khushboo v Kanniammal…………………………………………………………………..6
Yamunabai v. Anant Rao……………………………………………………………………..4

i
TABLE OF STATUTES
Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.........................................................................
Civil Solidarity Pact, 1999 (France).........................................................................................
Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956...........................................................................
Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956...........................................................................
Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.........................................................................................................
Hindu Succession Act, 1956......................................................................................................
Indian Evidence Act, 1872...................................................................................................
Indian Succession Act, 1925......................................................................................................
Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986..................................................
Matrimonial Causes Act, 1973 (UK).......................................................................................
Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005........................................
Special Marriage Act, 1954........................................................................................................

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TABLE OF ABBREVATIONS

Cr.P.C – Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973


DVA – Domestic Violence Act, 2005
HAMA – Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956
HMGA – Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956
HC – High Court
MP – Madhya Pradesh
NCW – National Commission for Women
PC – Privy Council
S. - Section
SC – Supreme Court
UK – United Kingdom
USA – United States of America

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CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
A live-in relationship is an arrangement where a heterosexual couple lives together,
without entering into formal relationship called marriage. It is also commonly known as
“Cohabitation.”1 It need not necessarily involve sexual relations. It is a largely informal
arrangement in most places, although some countries do offer registration of such couples.
People generally choose to enter into such relations either to test compatibility before marriage,
or if they are unable to legally marry or simply because it does not involve the hassles of formal
marriage with lengthy divorces should partners decide to call it quits. It may also be that they see
no benefit or value offered by the institution of marriage or that their financial situation
temporarily precludes it. Whatever be the reason, it is quite clear that even in a traditional India,
where the institution of marriage is “sacred”, an increasing number of couples choose a live-in
relationship, sometimes even as a permanent arrangement over marriage. In such circumstances,
various legal and social issues have arisen and continue to do so.
Persons may find themselves in live-in relationship either ‘by choice’ or ‘by
circumstances’. Relationships ‘by choice’ are those where the partners live together. It may exist
even where one or both of the partners are already legally married to another person and yet
engage in such a relationship as a matter of preference. Relationships in this category are wholly
voluntary. There are live-in partners whose concerned are consciously choosing to live as live-in
partners. They do not want a status of formal marriage, they are happy to continue to live in as
partners. In metros like Mumbai, Delhi it is highly impossible to get housing accommodation for
bachelors and spinsters who are working in multi-national corporations, or corporate houses. The
property owners prefer to rent/lease their houses to only married couples because they feel it will
be safe for them. In such a situation young people get in agreement with opposite sex for sake of
getting accommodation. Though their relationship is not real or fake in eyes of law and has no
intimate relationship of any kind but with passage of time they start having feelings for each
other.
On the other hand, relationship ‘by circumstances’ occur where one or both partners are under
the mistaken assumption that a valid marriage exits between them or where parties thought they
had validly divorced from persons married or cannot afford to be married again due to economic
reasons. They may occur in case where the man or woman was led to believe that the man was

1. http://www.enotes.com/everyday-law-encyclopedia/cohabitation on (27/01/2012)

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unmarried, divorced or widowed and married him. If the man and woman followed all rituals of
the marriage but already had a wife or husband living at such time from whom, he or she had not
divorced as yet, this marriage will not be recognised in law. Such a live-in relationship is thus
involuntarily entered into. It is important to understand that the courts and the lawmakers look to
make laws to protect socio-economic and legal interests of the partners, especially women caught
in the circumstantial live-ins. But this often leads to misuse of these laws by partners in
relationships of choice.2
1.1 Differentiations
It is important at the outset, to differentiate live-in relationships from other similar cohabitations.
a) A “mistress” (paramour or lover) refers to a man's long term female sexual partner and
companion, with whom he has intimate relations while married to another woman. The
relationship is semi-permanent and generally secret. The man may pay for some of the woman's
living expenses, or provide her with an allowance. However, they do not live together, as in the
case of a live-in relationship. But the area of differentiation as regards rights is a gray area, as
Courts sometimes grant a mistress similar rights to as if she were a live-in partner.
b) A “concubine” refers to a woman who cohabits with a man, in addition to his official wife.
The practice of keeping concubines was followed by many Asian, Arab and European rulers.
Their status is lower than that of the official wife and they hence enjoy limited rights. It was an
involuntary and servile practice and is regarded as a form of ‘sexual slavery.’ In Hindu Law,
these women were known as ‘Avarudha Stris.’ 3 These are clearly different from women in live-
in relationships, who generally enter into the relationship voluntarily. Live-in relationships also
need not solely be for the purpose of sexual relations as with concubines.
c) “Cohabitants” is synonymous to live-in partners3

1.2 Research Plan


a) Aims and Objectives
Through this project the researcher aims to provide the reader with a detailed socio-legal
study of live-in relationships and its impact on marriage institutions and also analysed the law
relating to matrimonial and proprietary rights of live-in partners besides the duties and obligation
of live in partners. The researcher has also compared the status of live-in relationship with the

2.http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2008-07-09/man-woman/27949685_1_live-in-relationship-
recommendations-live-in-partners( 16/4/2012)
3. http://www.enotes.com/everyday-law-encyclopedia/cohabitation(27/01/2012)

2
status of married couples and status of children born out of live in relationship as well in this
project.
b) Scope and Limitations
Within the scope of this project the researcher will discuss the topic in detail with all
social and legal issues and implication, the impact of live-ins on marriage institution has been
highlighted. Due to paucity of space and relevant research material, not all case laws have been
cited, but only the important ones.
c) Chapterization
The researcher has divided the project into six main chapters. The first discuss live –in
relationship in India. The second chapter discusses the rules of other countries on live-in. The
third chapter talks about right of women in live-in relationship. The next chapter deals with the
effect of live-in in the society. The last chapter is a conclusion.
1.3 Research Methodology
The researcher has adopted the doctrinal form of research in completing this project. As
the project is primarily a socio-legal study on Live-in Relationships and it’s on marriage
institutions, the doctrinal form of research was most appropriate. Primary as well as secondary
sources of information have been used from the NALSAR Law library. The above category of
material consists of law reporters such as AIR and ILR and commentaries on the Hindu Law and
Mohammedan Law written by eminent authors and articles of some eminent personalities with
distinction. Also, secondary soft copy sources of information have been perused from online
databases such as Manupatra among others. No part of this project is plagiarized and it is the
original work of the researcher.

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CHAPTER II
LIVE-IN RELATIONSHIPS IN INDIA
The custom of men and women living together without marriage has been in practice for
millenniums. Since ancient times, the nawabs, princes and wealthy men in India not only had
several wives, but also several live-in women in their zenanas.1 It was not at all considered
‘immoral’ for men to have live-in relationships with women outside their marriage.2 Concubines
(avarudh stris) were kept for the man’s entertainment and relaxation. Following independence,
as society matured, bigamy was outlawed and women became more aware of their rights. This
practice thus died out.
The last few decades has however seen the advent of a new form of “live-ins”, where
men and women cohabit together without entering into marriage. The traditional Indian society
however disapproved of such ‘living in’ arrangements, for several reasons. Firstly, society
revered the institution of marriage. An Indian woman was expected to remain a virgin till she
married, but a live-in relationship contradicted this tradition.3 Secondly, as women tended to be
financially dependent on men, the instability of such live-ins created a subservient status for the
woman. There was much social criticism and stigma attached to such relationships, forcing them
to remain largely secretive. Neither statutes nor Courts supported such relationships. In 1988, the
SC in the case of Yamunabai v. Anant Rao4 held that where a man married the second time, his
second ‘wife’ had no claim to maintenance under Section 125 Cr.P.C 5, even though she was
unaware of his earlier marriage.6 The SC refused to recognize that they had lived together even if
their marriage was void. The man was allowed to take advantage of this, although he had
defrauded the woman by concealing his earlier marriage. The SC would not grant any rights to
the woman in such a live-in relationship ‘of circumstance’. Even as late as 2000, in Malti v. State
of Uttar Pradesh7, the Allahabad HC held that a woman living with a man could not be equated
as his wife. In this case, the woman was a cook in the man’s house and she stayed with him and
shared an intimate relationship. The Court however refused to extend the meaning of the word
“wife” in Section125 Cr.P.C to include a live-in partner’s maintenance claims.

1. The part reserved for the women of the household. [See http://www.thefreedictionary.com/zenanas]
2. Vimla Patil, “Do Live In Relationships Really Benefit Women”, THE TRIBUNE, Chandigarh, Sunday,
September 23rd, 2003, http://www.tribuneindia.com/2003/20030921/herworld.htm#1, (febuary 26th, 2012)
3. Ibid.
4. AIR 1988 SC 644.
5. Cr.P.C
6 . Kusum, “Cases and Materials on Family Law”, 1st. ed. 2007, p. 161
7 .2000 Cri LJ 4170 (All).

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There are some incidents where Courts had recognized such relations though. A
Dinohamy v. WL Blahamy8 the PC held that "Where a man and a woman are proved to have
lived together as a man and wife, the law will presume, that they were living together in
consequence of a valid marriage, unless the contrary can be proven.” Again in Gokal Chand v.
Pravin Kumari9 the SC reiterated the same principle, though it cautioned that the couple would
not get legitimacy, if the evidence of them living together was rebuttable.10 However, these
judgements only served to recognize marriages which were doubted, on the basis that a long term
live-in relationship existed. They did not recognize live-in relationships as independent of the
institution of marriage.
The increasing incidents of live-in relationships, especially those which occur ‘by
circumstance’ however ensured that the need for reforms was felt. In 2003, the Malimath
Commitee report on Reforms in the Criminal Justice System, suggested amendment of the word
‘wife’ in Section 125, Cr.P.C to include a woman who is living in with a man for a “reasonable
period.” Last year, the Maharashtra Government approved such an amendment to the Cr.P.C, but
this now awaits approval by the Central Government. The National Commission for Women
has recently made a similar recommendation, to protect the rights of such women. Significantly,
the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 became the first statute to give live-
in partners the same recognition as married couples. The position of Live-in Relationships is not
very clear in the Indian context but the recent landmark judgments given by the Hon’ble
Supreme Court provides some assistance when we skim through the topic of Live-In and analyze
the radius of the topic in Indian legal ambit.11 The couples tied with the knots of live-in
relationships are not governed by specific laws and therefore find traces of assistance in other
civil laws. The law is neither clear nor is adamant on a particular stand, the status is dwindling.
In the words of Dhingra J., “There are no legal strings attached to this relationship nor does this
relationship create any legal-bond between the partners. People who choose to have live-in
relationship cannot complain of infidelity or immorality as live-in relationships are also known
to have been between a married man and unmarried woman or vice-versa”

8. (1928) 1 MLJ 388


9. AIR 1952 SC 231
10.Shoma Chaterjee, “Living in: Shades of Gray”,INDIA TOGETHER, http://www.indiatogether.org/2008/aug/soc-
livein.htm, (febuary 25,2012)
11. http://www.lawyersclubindia.com/articles/The-Socio-Legal-Dimensions-of-Live-In-Relationships-3966.asp (27
febuary 2012)

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Furthermore the Hon’ble Allahabad High Court stated that a live-in relationship is not illegal.
Katju J. and Mishra J. stated that, “In our opinion, a man and a woman, even without getting
married, can live together if they wish to. This may be regarded as immoral by society, but is not
illegal. There is a difference between law and morality.”
The Hon’ble Supreme Court accepted the principle that a long term of cohabitation in a
live-in relationship makes it equivalent to a valid marital relationship. The Supreme Court also
held that live-in relationships cannot be considered as an offence as there is no law stating the
same. In the well talked about case of S.Khushboo v Kanniammal,12 the Supreme Court gave its
landmark judgment and held that there was no law which prohibits Live-in relationship or pre-
marital sex. The Supreme court further stated that Live-in relationship is permissible only in
unmarried major persons of heterogeneous sex.
In another case the Supreme Court stated that if man and woman are living under the
same roof and cohabiting for a number of years, there will be a presumption under section 114 of
the Evidence Act, that they live as husband and wife and the children born to them will not be
illegitimate.
Hence the High Courts and the Hon’ble Supreme Court in a number of decisions
delivered until recently have showed the positive signs of recognizing the legitimacy of the live-
in relationships and have also shown the inclination for a legislation to be enacted with the
objective of protecting the rights of couples in a live-in relationship.

12. 2010 AIR SCW 2770

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CHAPTER III
POSITION OF LIVE-IN RELATIONSHIPS ABROAD
With the Supreme Court declaring that the right to live together is a part of the right to
life, it is necessary to look at the legal rights and obligations for live-in couples around the world.
While heterosexual couples who are in a live-in relationship are called “co-habitant”, same sex
couples are legally defined as “civil partners”. But the law on cohabitation rights is largely
evolving and many participants are still unaware of their rights and duties to each other.
SCOTLAND
Family Law (Scotland) Act, 2006, for the first time identified, and in the process by
default, legalised live-in relationships of over 150000 cohabiting couples in the country. Section
25(2) of the Act states that a court of law can consider a person as a co-habitant of another by
checking on three factors; the length of the period during which they lived together, the nature of
the relationship during that period and the nature and extent of any financial arrangements.1
FRANCE
Live-in relationships in France are governed by the Civil Solidarity Pact of ‘pacte civil de
solidarite’ or PaCS, passed by the French National Assembly in October 1999. Cohabitation is
defined as a "de facto stable and continuous relationship" between two persons of different sexes
or of the same sex living together as couple. The pact defines the relationship as a contract, and
the couples involved as “contractants". The contract binds "two adults of different sexes or of the
same sex, in order to organise their common life." For a valid contract to exist, the contractants
"may not be bound" by another pact, "by marriage, sibling or lineage."2
UNITED KINGDOM
Live-in relationships in the United Kingdom are largely covered by the Civil Partnership
Act, 2004. Though a man and woman living together in a stable sexual relationship are often
referred to as "common law spouses", the expression is not wholly correct in law in England and
Wales. The Government feels that live-in partners owe each other more than that to be worthy of
the term. As per a 2010 note from the Home Affairs Section to the House of Commons,
unmarried couples have no guaranteed rights to ownership of each other's property on
breakdown of relationship. If a cohabiting couple separates, the Courts have no power to
override the strict legal ownership of property and divide it as they may do on divorce.

1. http://airwebworld.com/articles/index.php?article=1266(27 febuary 2012)


2. Ibid

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Unmarried partners have no automatic inheritance over their partner's assets on death.
Cohabiting couples are treated as unconnected individuals for taxation purposes.
CANADA
Living together in Canada is legally recognised as "common law marriage". In many
cases common law couples have the same rights as married couples under the federal law of the
country. A common law relationship gets legal sanctity if the couple has been living in a
conjugal relationship for at least 12 continuous months, or the couple are parents of a child by
birth or adoption, or one of the persons has custody and control of the child and the child is
wholly dependent on that person for support.
IRELAND
Though living together is legally recognised in Ireland, news reports says the public is up
in arms against a new legislation to introduce legal rights for "separated" live-in couples to
demand maintenance or share their property with their dependent partners. The scheme will
apply to both opposite sex and same sex unmarried couples who have been living together for
three years, or two years in the case of a cohabiting couple with children. The Government, with
this legislation, intends to provide legal and financial protection for the vulnerable and
financially dependent cohabitants in the event of death or the breakup of a relationship.
AUSTRALIA
The Family Law Act of Australia states that a "de facto relationship”3 can exist between
two people of different or of the same sex and that a person can be in a de-facto relationship even
if legally married to another person or in a de-facto relationship with someone else.
UNITED STATES
Cohabitation was illegal in the United States prior in 1970, but went on to gain status as a
common law, subject to certain requirements. The American legal history was then a witness to
several consensual sex legislations, which paved the way for living together contracts and their
cousins, the "prenuptial agreements". The country later institutionalized cohabitation by giving
cohabiters essentially the same rights and obligations as married couples, a situation similar to
Sweden and Denmark. Those living together are not recognized as legal parents

3. http://www.familycourt.wa.gov.au/_files/defacto.pdf (27 febuary 2012)

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CHAPTER IV
PROS AND CONS OF LIVE-IN RELATIONSHIPS
The Supreme Court’s controversial observation Okaying live-in relationships and pre-
marital sex has generated fierce debate across the country. The historic observation has made to
upset many orthodox groups fearing that it would destroy the sanctity of marriage. A fragment of
the society including noted social activists and prominent dignitaries have stepped ahead and
shared their precious views on this.
Social scientists have already identified grave social problems like young age pregnancy
of adolescent girls, drug abuse, violence and juvenile delinquencies and in the wake of the
controversial ruling, the erstwhile objectionable social behaviour gets legalized, many felt. This
way, the new generation will be more spoilt. They will prefer live-in relationships to marriages
arranged by their parents. There is no guarantee that the male in such relationship will turn out to
be a loyal partner in the long run or would not leave the woman with their issues and run away
without prior notice.
BJP spokesperson Shaina, expressed that, according to the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955,
there is no provision for a second wife among Hindus.4 Hence, enabling the mistress to get the
status of a legally married wife in all matters, including share in property, inheritance, and
maintenance is contrary to the Act as well as Hindu customs.”
When the Maharashtra Government approved a proposal suggesting that a woman
involved in a live-in relationship for a ‘reasonable period’, should get the status of a wife, Shaina
said that the Government on one hand has banned dance bars because they are spoiling the social
atmosphere, while on the other it is promoting illicit relationships through such amendments.
Senior BJP leader Jaywantiben Mehta also opposed the amendment. "It will have adverse effect
on our values. The amendment will prove to be a loss for the women instead of gain," she said.
On the other hand, the section advocating freedom of choosing live-in relationship has
hailed it as a pragmatic move. The recent observations, as they see, should be welcomed because
it lays down emphasis on individual freedom. It opens frontiers to understand the personality
traits of their partner well. Since there are no legal complications in a live-in relationship,
walking out of such a relationship would be much easier than walking out of a marriage. Metro

4. http://lex-warrierlegalsolutions.blogspot.in/2010/11/live-in-relationship-recent.html (27th febuary 2012)

9
life that throws floodgates of challenges also supports this kind of an arrangement. The
individuals should be free to live as they think best, subject only to the limitation that their
actions and choices should not cause harm to others. It is a very radical attitude. Some people are
of the view that women should be given the liberty to choose their life partners and should not be
forced into marriages if they are not ready.
As expected, women from various walks of life have welcomed progressive moves on
live-in relationships. Jaishree Mishra, a New Delhi based author says, “India has changed. If
people think youngsters are losing their values, then I would say they are becoming more
pragmatic. In today’s times, it is better for them to know what they are getting into”.5
This is not the first time live-in relationship is in the ambit of debates and discussions. There has
been a long-standing controversy whether a relationship between a man and a woman living
together without marriage can be recognized by law. With changing social hypothesis entering
the society, in most places, it is legal for unmarried people to live together. Now even in a
country like India bounded by innumerable cultural ethics and rites, the law finds legally nothing
wrong in live-in relationships.
This, however, cannot be construed that law promotes such relationships. Law
traditionally has been biased in favour of marriage. It reserves many rights and privileges to
married persons to preserve and encourage the institution of marriage. Such stands, in particular
cases of live-in relationship, it appears that, by and large, is based on the assumption that they are
not between equals and therefore women must be protected by the courts from the patriarchal
power that defines marriage, which covers these relationships too.

5. Ibid.

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CHAPTER V
RIGHTS OF WOMEN IN A LIVE-IN RELATIONSHIP IN INDIA
The Rights of Women in such relationships do not have much condolence except some
traces of assistance offered by the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act which
covers in its ambit “relationship similar to marriage” or live-in relationships. The definition of
“domestic relationship” means a relationship between two persons who live or have, at any point
of time, lived together in a shared household, when they are related by consanguinity, marriage,
or through a relationship in the nature of marriage, adoption or are family members living
together as a joint family. Hence the words in the nature of marriage are self explanatory and buy
within its meaning the social concept of live-in.
Furthermore in the recent years the recommendations by various committees and NGO’s
have awaken the spirits of justice in the interest of women specially aggrieved by such
relationships. Apart from this the Hon’ble Supreme Court has also given landmark judgments
make its stand clear on the issue. For instance in the landmark case of D. Veluswami v D.
Patchaimmal1 it was held a woman in a live-in relationship is not entitled to maintenance unless
she fulfills certain parameters, the Supreme court had observed that merely spending weekends
together or a one night would not make it a domestic relationship.
5.1 In order to get maintenance, the essential four conditions are:2
a) The couple must hold themselves out to society as being akin to spouses.
b) They must be of legal age to marry.
c) They must be otherwise qualified to enter into a legal marriage.
d) They must be voluntarily cohabited and held themselves out to the world as being akin to
spouses for a significant period of time.
The Supreme Court observed that not all Live-in relationships will amount to a
relationship in the nature of marriage to get the benefit of the Protection of Women from
Domestic Violence Act, 2005. If a man has a ‘keep’ whom he maintains financially and uses
mainly for sexual purpose and/or as a servant it would not be a relationship in the nature of
marriage.
The National Centre for Women made recommendations to the Ministry of Women and Child
Development to include female live-in partners within the ambit of section 125 of Cr.PC in

1. AIR 2011 SC 479


2.http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2010-10-21/india/28237348_1_live-in-relationship-dv-act-live-in-
partners (febuary 27,2012)

11
order to establish their rights and make them entitled to right to maintenance. The Hon’ble Court
also in the case of Abhijit Auti v. State of Maharashtra3 and others supported the above
principle and furthermore the Maharashtra Government showed a positive sign by accepting the
Malimath Committee Report and also the Law Commission Report and held that if a live-in
relationship continues for a very long time she is entitled to enjoy the rights of a wife but it was
recently ruled out that a wife under section 125 of Cr.PC is a divorced wife and the right to
maintenance should only be enjoyed by a divorced wife and not by a female partner who merely
cohabited with her male partner. Since in case of a live-in relationship there exists no marriage
and hence no concept of divorce. Therefore a female partner under live-in relationship should not
be construed as a wife under section 125 of the Cr.PC. The decision of the Hon’ble Court is in
the righteous spirit as empowering any women who cohabited with a man would result in misuse
of the legal provisions under section 125 and would therefore be unfair on the part of the male
partner as well. Definition of the word "wife" in section 125 of the Code be amended to include a
woman who was living with the man like his wife for a reasonably long period.
The need of the present hour is not to try bringing live-in relationships under the ambit of
any existing law but to enact a new different law which would look into the matter of live-in’s
separately and would grant rights and obligations on the part of the couples thereby reducing the
cases of misuse of existing laws and also to reduce cases of atrocities faced by the female
partners under such relationships.
5.2 Rights of Child born through a Live-In Relationship
The Child born through a Live-In Relationships enjoys the same rights of succession and
inheritance as are enjoyed by a child through a married couple under the Hindu Marriage Act.
Notwithstanding that marriage is null and void under section 11, any child of such marriage who
would have been legitimate if the marriage had been valid, shall be legitimate, whether such
child is born before or after the commencement of the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Act, 1976
(68 of 1976)*, and whether or not a decree of nullity is granted in respect of that marriage under
this Act and whether or not the marriage is held to be void otherwise than on a petition under this
Act. Thus in order to keep up the spirits of law in the righteous direction and to subside the social
evils wherein illegitimate child was denied his rights the Hindu Marriage Act has granted
legitimacy to children born through marriages which are not valid. Hence such definition brings
within itself the ambit of live-in relationships and children born through such relations.

3. AIR 2003 Bom 304

12
While still the other laws have not guaranteed such legality to children born through such
relationships and therefore the status is dwindling for legal status of children which results in
extensive misuse of the provisions and still escape liability. Hence the legality of a child is
doubtful in other laws and has to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. Furthermore if the live-in
partners decide to separate the question of the future of the child is tossed. Therefore the laws
regarding the guardianship should be amended to include within its ambit the guardianship of
children born through such relationships.
5.3 Inheritance Rights
The Supreme Court held that a child born out of a live-in relationship is not entitled to
claim inheritance in Hindu ancestral coparcenary property (in the case of an undivided joint
Hindu family) and can only claim a share in the parents’ self-acquired property. The Bench set
aside a Madras High Court judgment, which held that children born out of live-in relationships
were entitled to a share in ancestral property as there was a presumption of marriage in view of
the long relationship.
Reiterating an earlier ruling, a Vacation Bench of Justices B.S. Chauhan and Swatanter
Kumar said,
“In view of the legal fiction contained in Section 16 of the Hindu
Marriage Act, 1955 (legitimacy of children of void and voidable
marriages), the illegitimate children, for all practical purposes,
including succession to the properties of their parents, have to be
treated as legitimate. They cannot, however, succeed to the properties
of any other relation on the basis of this rule, which in its operation, is
limited to the properties of the parents.”4
A child can only make a claim on the person's self acquired property, in case the child is
illegitimate. It can also be interpreted in a way in which a child could lay a claim on the share of
a parents’ ancestral property as they can ask for that parents’ share in such property, as Section
16 permits a share in the parents’ property. Hence, it could be argued that the person is not only
entitled to self acquired property but also a share in the ancestral property.
The Apex Court also stated that while the marriage exists, a spouse cannot claim the live-
in relationship with some other person and seek inheritance for the children from the property of
that other person. The relationship with some other person, while the husband is living is not

4. http://barandbench.com/brief/2/762/supreme-court-says-live-in-relationships-are-fine-but-dont-expect-ancestral-
property(16/4/2012)

13
‘live-in relationship’ but ‘adultery’. It is further clarified that ‘live in relationship’ is permissible
in unmarried heterosexuals (in case, one of the said persons is married, the man may be guilty of
adultery and it would amount to an offence under Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code).

14
CHAPTER VI
EFFECT IN THE SOCIETY
This fashion of live-in relation has effected all the youth of the society for various
reasons. Nothing escapes without without leaving drawbacks. No doubt such relation gives two
partners the maximum opportunity to right to liberty, right to privacy, right to life. But the
negative point has to be realised as well. Below I have list few point resulting to such
relationship.
6.1 Breaking down of marriage institution
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an
institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in
a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found. Such a union,
often formalized via a wedding ceremony, may also be called matrimony. Therefore, it would be
easily mentioned that live-in relationship is but degrading the valued of marriage which is
recognised as social union unlike live-in relationship where there is only well of two person.
Marriage leads to a bonding between a man and woman and this ensures security for children.
Let us also caution the protagonists of live-in relationships that parting of ways, for one reason or
the other, will leave behind deep scars of being used and rejected. Progenies of such
relationships will also end up as misfits in society
6.2 In and out relationship
Other easy way of defining the term “live-in,” is “walk-in and walk-out” relationship
which entails no obligation on the parties. “It (live-in relationship) is a contract of living together
which is renewed every day by the parties and can be terminated by either without the consent of
the other. Thus people who choose to have a live-in relationship cannot complain of infidelity or
immorality. Therefore, we can say it nothing more than personnel enjoyment.
6.3 Anti-Hindu and live-in relationship
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has agitation over legalising live-in relationship as anti-
Hindu1. The party state that according to the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, there is no provision for
a second wife among Hindus. Hence, enabling the mistress to get the status of a legally married
wife in all matters, including share in property, inheritance, and maintenance is contrary to the
Act as well as Hindu customs

1. http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report_live-in-relationship-is-anti-hindu-bjp_1197128, Saturday, Oct 11, 2008


(27 febuary 2012)

15
6.4 Negative identity
Everyone has the moral liability to adhere to life-enriching norms to enable the future
generations to be proud of their birth, cultural traditions and national identity. Why should
children be made to bear the cross of the skewed behaviour of their parents? Responsible parents
will leave a valuable legacy and not vicarious liabilities to the progeny.
Even when parents normatively raise their children, many precautionary measures are
required to insulate them from the ill-effects of the unsanctioned societal deviations and the
vicious projections of modernity. India cannot afford to throw its proven and time-tested merits
of its custom to the winds.
6.5 Weakens social relationship
As such relationships are choice of two individual wish to make their own family without
the will of their parents there is always expectation of weak relation between the parents of the
spouse family. Therefore it is no doubt that there is always change of conflict of ideas and
opinion in the family as a result it will laterally lead to weaken the relation between other
member of the family. So over all it is no it has a better negative effect in the society.

16
CHAPTER VII
CONCLUSION
The decisions by the Indian Court is discerning as in some cases the Courts have opined
that the live-in relationship should have no bondage between the couples because the sole criteria
for entering into such agreements is based on the fact that there lies no obligation to be followed
by the couples whereas in some instances the Court has shown opposite views holding that if a
relationship cum cohabitation continues for a sufficiently and reasonably long time, the couple
should be construed as a married couple infusing all the rights and liabilities as guaranteed under
a marital relationship.
It also appears strange if the concept of live-in is brought within the ambit of section 125
of the Cr.PC where the husband is bound to pay maintenance and succession as the ground of
getting into live-in relationship is to escape all liabilities arising out of marital relations. If the
rights of a wife and a live-in partner become equivalent it would promote bigamy and there
would arise a conflict between the interests of the wife and the live-in partner. Apart from
lacking legal sanction the social existence of such relationships is only confined to the metros,
however, when we look at the masses that define India, there exists no co-relation between live-
in relationships and its acceptance by the Indian society. It receives no legal assistance and at the
same time the society also evicts such relationships. The Parliament should try and enact a
separate branch rather than trying to bring live-in within the ambit of the existing laws as such
futile approach would further adversely complicate the judicial mechanism.
Suggestions
The Indian Legal system should devise new strategies in order to counter the present
existing problems of live-in.
 The live-in relationships should be presumed as permanent after a specific period of time.
Furthermore, the children born through such relationships irrespective of the parents
religion should be guaranteed the rights of inheritance, succession etc.
 The female partner’s role to prove the burden of such relationship should be relaxed.
 Persons who enter into a live-in relationship with a living spouse should be convicted for
bigamy.
 A separate legislation should only be competent enough to grant assistance to the female
partners aggrieved by such relationships.

17
 At last, the sooner our society accepts live-in relationships, the better chances the Indian
Judiciary has for passing judgments which are in the righteous spirit of law and in the
interest of justice, equity and good conscience.

18
BIBLIOGRAPHY

a. Books Referred
 Kusum, “Cases and Materials on Family Law”, 1st. ed. 2007, Universal Law Publishing
Co., Delhi.
 Kusum, “Family Law Lectures”, 1st ed. 2003, Lexis Nexis, New Delhi
 Paras Diwan and Peeyushi Diwan, “Family Law”, 7th ed. 2005, Allahabad Law Agency,
Allahabad.
 Ranganath Mishra and Vijender Kumar, (rev.), Mayne, “Hindu Law and Usage”, 16th ed.
2008, Bharat Law House, New Delhi.
 TV Subba Rao and Vijender Kumar, (rev.), GCV Subba Rao, “Family Law in India”, 1st
Ind. rep. 2004 (8th ed. 2003), S Gogia and Co, Hyderabad.

b. Websites Referred
 http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2008/11/14/livein-relationships-india-accorded-legal-
status
 http://www.tribuneindia.com/2003/20030921/herworld.htm#1
 http://www.thefreedictionary.com/zenanas
 http://www.indiatogether.org/2008/aug/soc-livein.htm
 http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/NCW_wants_change_in_definition_of_livein_re
lationships/rssarticleshow/3864127.cms
 http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/2708525.cms
 http://www.pucl.org/Topics/Law/2003/malimath-recommendations.htm
 http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Repository/ml.asp?Ref=VE9JQkcvMjAwNy8wNS8yMy
NBcjAwMTA0&Mode=HTML&Locale=english-skin-custom
 http://www.tribuneindia.com/2006/20060827/society.htm
 http://www.ohhoo.com/cohabitation.php
 http://www.oneplusone.org.uk/marriedornot/PDF/Cohabitation.pdf
 http://www.lawcom.gov.uk/cohabitation.htm
 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6923373.stm
 http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cacodes/fam/297.html
 http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/09/14/national/main2007258.shtml

iv
 http://www.enotes.com/everyday-law-encyclopedia/cohabitation
 http://www.france.qrd.org/texts/partnership/fr/explanation.html
 http://www.lawyersclubindia.com/articles/The-Socio-Legal-Dimensions-of-Live-In-
Relationships-3966.asp
 http://airwebworld.com/articles/index.php?article=1266
 http://www.familycourt.wa.gov.au/_files/defacto.pdf
c. Articles Referred
 M. Sridhar, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: A CRIME AND TORT, Ramaswami Iyer, “Law
of Torts”, 2006.
 Prof. Vijender kumar, LIVE-IN RELATION :IMPACT ON MARRIAGE AND
FAMILY INSTITUTION