The legal aspects of live-in relationship in India

Submitted by asandil on 4/18/2014

India is still a country that is looked upon by the entire world where values dominate the entire social fabric. Two persons, including a male and female, are allowed to live together only when they are married. But with the rapidly changing socio economic scenario, the human relationships have also witnessed drastic changes.

On the social front, the term live-in relationship has been one of the most talked-about and written-on issues in India in the recent past. It has gained an awesome popularity particularly among those youths who are living and working in metro cities across the country. Before proceeding ahead, let’s understand the concept of live-in relationship.

A live-in relationship can be defined in a way when two persons, a male and a female start living together without getting traditionally or lawfully married. It has always been one of the most talked-about subjects whether this kind of relationship is long-lasting or not. It has also been criticised by the moralists or puritans on the grounds of degradation in social values.

Most of the critics are strongly of the view that this type of relationship can never be replaced with the married life. As per the views of social engineers, the person living in live-in relationship can never comprehend the real meaning and seriousness of marriage.

However, despite a number of confrontations over the gravity of the issue, the Apex Court of India has considered live-in relationship neither a crime nor a sin. The Supreme Court has directed Parliament to frame a suitable law keeping in view of the security, particularly of a woman and the child/children born out of this kind of relationship. The Court further said that this type of relationship is not recognisable for the Law and on the social front also, it has very low chances of acceptance.

The Court has laid stress on the issue saying that it is necessary for the Parliament to bring this issue into proper legislation by making certain amendment in the concerned Act, so that in the cases of break-down relationships, the women and her children can properly be protected. The special bench of the court also said that this type of relationship can and should never be replaced with marriage.

Whatever directions the Court has given are just the initials on this issue. In a country like India where even today an arranged marriage scores very heavily over love marriage, the chances of social acceptance and success of live-in relationship fall under countless suspicions and apprehensions. There are so many things associated with this issue both socially and practically. A large number of social engineers are of the view that it’s a woman who will always suffer in this type of relationship.

The puritans are of the view that it’s just like enjoying sensual pleasures without any sense of responsibility, and in Indian society it will never be acceptable. Therefore, let the people having this type relationship decide the pros and cons of their relationship till the law of the land issues the guidelines to follow.

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