Friday, 18 February 2022

LIVE-IN REALTIONSHIP LAWS IN INDIA

 LIVE-IN REALTIONSHIP LAWS IN INDIA 

A live in relationship is one where there exists continuous cohabitation between 2 individuals without any legal responsibilities or obligations towards one another. They have no law tying them together, and consequently, either of the 2 partners can choose to walk out of the relationship.

This however has led to many legal and social issues arising out of the situation which have become the topic of discussion.  Many incidents have been reported in recent times where partners in live-in relationships or a child born out of such relationship have remained vulnerable for the simple reason that such live in relationships have been kept outside the purview of law. There have been ample cases of misuse by the partners in live-in relationships since they do not have any duties and responsibilities to perform.

Law and Live in Relationships in India

The law in India does not give any rights or obligations to the partners of live-in relationships. However, court has spoken about the concept of live-in relationship through various judgments. Though law is still vague about the status of such relationship yet some rights have been granted by interpreting and amending the existing legislations:

Domestic Violence Act, 2005
In the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 the legislation has acknowledged live-in relationships by giving rights and protection to  women who are not legally married, but rather are living with a male partner in a relationship, which is in the idea of marriage, however not equivalent to wife.

Though live-in relationships are not explicitly defined in the Act but left to the courts for their interpretation. Through aforementioned provision, the court interpreted the expression “relationship in the nature of marriage”. The provisions are presently made applicable to the individuals who are in a live-in relationship. Courts assume live-in relationships to be covered under the purview of the expression as the words nature of marriage and live-in relationship stand on the same line and meaning. This gives women some common rights to protect themselves from the abuse of fraudulent marriage, relationships of bigamous nature.

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973
Section 125 CrPC was introduced to prevent vagrancy and destitution for a wife/minor children/old age parents, and it has now been extended by judicial interpretation to partners of a live-in relationship.

Recent judgment of Supreme Court 

Recently, in a landmark case, Supreme Courtdealt with the issue of live-in relationships in detail and also laid down the conditions for live-in relationship that can be given the status of marriage. A Bench of the Supreme Court in Indra Sarma v. V.K.V. Sarma held that “when the woman is aware of the fact that the man with whom she is in a live-in relationship and who already has a legally wedded wife and two children, cannot get various reliefs available to a legally wedded wife and also to those who enter into a relationship in the nature of marriage” as per provisions of Domestic Violence Act, 2005. The Supreme Court here felt that denial of any protection would amount to a great injustice to people who are victims of illegal relationships. Therefore, the Supreme Court emphasised that there is a great need to extend Section 2(f) which defines “domestic relationships” in Domestic Violence Act, 2005 so as to include victims who are poor, illiterate along with their children who are born out from such relationships and who do not have any continuing source of income.


LIVE-IN REALTIONSHIP LAWS IN INDIA 

By – SHAMBHAVI 

VIP-AUTHOR


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