This is a new trend in Indian laws that maintenance is provided to women who have a live-in relationship for a period of time. This happens after the implementation of the Domestic violence Act in India. No Indian laws has defined who is a wife neither the Hindu marriage act or the Christian marriage act and even the special marriage act has not defined who is a wife or husband except the criminal procedure code. The explanation given for section 125 (1) of Cr.P.C. has stated: “Wife includes a woman who has been divorced by, or has obtained a divorce from, her husband and has not remarried”.
The very object for the Cr.P.C. to define the wife is for the purpose of maintenance. No person other than a wife was granted maintenance till the enactment of Domestic violation act which provides women as domestic relationship.
The Live-in-relationship is a western concept which is imported to India in its cosmopolitan city at large and outskirts as insignificant. Live-in-relationships are mostly seen in
1.At college levels where both women and men came from other cities or out states for the purpose of studying. They took houses for rent and lead a live-in relationship till their studies. And even perform the obligations as husband and wife. It is quite common in Chennai and other major Indian cities.
2.At work levels where both women and men came from other cities or out states for the purpose of job. They took houses for rent and lead a live-in relationship. They continue their relationship till their marriage or even marry the same person but it happens rarely. This trend happens between young generation to escape from the clutches of the marriage.
3. Widows who after the death of her husband happen to live-in-relationship with other women’s husband for their social and financial security without being married with that person. Since the fist wife is the barricade to marry the concubine legally. Law give only the status of concubine to them.
4. Divorcee women who had grown up children who don’t want to commit a martial life and bondage are having a live-in relationship.
In some situations the men’s nature to forbidden the women who are in a live-in relationship. The women’s were left abandoned in society without any financial assistance or source of living. The domestic violence act came rescue to such victimized women and provide maintenance for her life.
A man and woman not married, but having live-in relationship is enough for the Woman is entitled to maintenance under Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act. But merely living a live-in relationship is not entitled for maintenance. The women has to show that though there was no marriage but relationship was in the nature of marriage. Having a sexual relationship with women frequently is not a live-in relationship. It is a nature of living as a husband and wife without undergoing a marriage.
"Relationship in the nature of marriage" must fulfill the following ingredients:-
(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, including being unmarried.
(d) They must have voluntarily cohabited and held themselves out to the world as being akin to spouses for a significant period of time.
(e) The parties must have lived together in a 'shared household' as defined in Section 2(s) of the Act - Merely spending weekends together or a one night stand would not make it a 'domestic relationship'.
(f) 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.
A legally wedded wife or divorced wife can claim maintenance from husband under Section 125 Criminal Procedure Code. A women who was in live-in relationship with man but not legally wedded is not entitled to claim maintenance under Section 125 Criminal Procedure Code. However, if such a women proves that she was in domestic relationship with the man in the nature marriage would be entitled to claim maintenance under Section 20(3) of Protection of Domestic Violence At, 2005. The supreme court of India has also confirm this proposition in Velusamy Vs Patchaiammal case. This is a progressive judgment and a great boon to the suppressed women.