Rights under Live-in relationships in India

A Live-in relationship gives couple an opportunity to stay together without engaging in any legally binding relationship.

There has been a drastic change in the way relationships are perceived in India today. Earlier, there was a taboo associated with live-in relationships, which did not let the concept grow much.

Today, the mindset of people has changed. Individuals and families have started accepting it as an opportunity to understand the partner better, and not as a means of escaping from responsibilities of a legal relationship.

A live in relationship gives an opportunity to the partners to check if they are compatible with each other. It gives them a chance to know if they can adjust well, before actually marrying.

And, another great advantage which it gives is, the non-complex procedure of separating, unlike in married relationships. If any of the two partners in live-in relationship, decide to leave or mutually decide to breakup if they find themselves incompatible, they can easily do so without the need to consult any legal institution or follow court procedures.

But is it legal in India?

Married man living with another woman, or a married woman living with another man, is illegal, as it is a case of Adultery and therefore punishable. But, in case of unmarried couples, there’s no clear law on live in relationship in India.

However, the SC stated that – “Any woman or man have been living under the same room and have also been cohabiting for a certain number of years, then it will be presumed that these parties have been living as husband and wife under Section 114 of the Evidence Act. The children that will be born to these couples are not illegitimate.”

This is one of the landmark judgments as far as the Supreme Court is concerned. Also, the legitimacy of the child born out of a co-living relationship is concerned.

The apex court has managed to interpret the statute. This in concurrence with Article 39 (f) of the Constitution for the child.

In another landmark judgment was passed in a case where it was held by the Supreme Court that any child born out of a co-living relationship will not be considered as illegitimate.

The only pre-requisite being that the parents of the child must be living together under the same roof. That too for a given number of years such that the society can deem them to be ‘husband’ and ‘wife’.

Now that we have an idea about the law regarding live in relationship in India, we should also know of some of the other live in relationship legal rights.

The Supreme Court in many cases has deemed a couple living together for a certain period of time has similar legal rights as that of a married couple.

The Court has also allowed for the right to maintenance under the Domestic Violence Act, 2005. Especially for the women and children who are a part of a live-in relationship.

The Court has further stated that a live-in relationship is going to fall within the said expression – ‘relationship in the nature of marriage’. This expression falls under Section 2 (f) of the Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

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