- Aman Shekhar & Sequeira Byron
The authors of this article intend to outline, the
concept of "Live in relationship" which is gradually emerging as a
trend in young generation in a democratic country like India which is vested
with western culture and new lifestyles. It is a kind of relationship or an
arrangement where heterosexual couples live together in a long term without
entering into a formal relationship that resembles as a marriage. It is further
known as common law marriage i.e informal marriage where man and women never go
through a formal ceremony of marriage or get a marriage license.
The current situation with the Live In Relationship is that to some extent it is not acceptable by the Indian society because as per society marriage is a social institution. It has some legal implications and high culture value and marriage under Hindu religion in India is considered to be a "sacred" social institution where there is requirement to perform various religious duties. The society is of the opinion that live in relationship defies the marriage institution and that is why they regard it as immoral. On the other hand the rights and duties of the couple and the rights of child born out of such relation are also not determined or governed by any law in the country.
We are of the opinion that though this relationship is not recognized by Hindu Marriage or by other laws but Judiciary has played very magnificent role in determining the rights of the people those who living together in live in relation and have further taken into consideration the circumstances and long-term cohabitation between a man and a woman and have equated the same to a valid marriage. As in the case of D.Velusamvy v. D. Patchaiammal, the court allowed the live-in relationship to come within the purview of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005. The relationship was considered as a 'relationship in the nature of marriage' and in the case of Indira Sarma v. VKV Sarma, the court stated, live-in or marriage-like relationship is neither a crime nor a sin though socially unacceptable in this country. Further the Supreme Court and various High Court's in their various judgments have said that this kind of relationship is not illegal because there is no law which prohibits live in relationship or pre-marital sex, partner can inherit the property, women in live in relation should get the rights of wife.
Therefore authors are of the view that there is a need of proper legislation or legal framework which should be made by legislature to determine the rights and duties or liabilities of parties who cohabit, how a child born out of such relation can inherit the property, how wife could get the maintenance, etc. Further living in live in relation is a right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.