Myths & Law About Live-in Relationship In India

“Almost all the time, you tell yourself you're loving somebody when you're just using them.” CHUCK PALAHNIUK, Invisible Monsters

This is the season of Valentine day. The aspiring couple wait very eagerly for this day and certainly it is the most romantic day of the year. It becomes more significant for those who are into live-in relationship because they don’t celebrate traditional marriage ceremony, so the valentine day may serve this purpose for them.

 

Indian society is witnessing the sea change in the family system by way of live-in relationships. Live-in is no more a taboo for new generation and we have seen fast development in this field, specially, since 2008. Even Supreme Court and Various High Courts are giving  passing judgments on  focusing this  area. On one had Courts are trying to  figure out the up coming challenge of family law by way of ‘Live-in’ relationship and at the other hand the law-makers might be involved in drafting the law of it.

 

So, under these circumstances one thing is sure that  “Live-in” relationship is going to live longer in Indian Society. It fulfil to the demand of changing circumstances to certain extent of individuals. Many young aspiring couples are exited about this freedom of free choice and eager to taste it. In this article we have tried to address the myths & legal status of live-in relationships which may be helpful to those who are ‘single but ready to mingle’ with live-in relationship and can have better understanding with it.

 

1) ‘Live – in is illegal relationship’  Or ‘ All living together types is live-in relationship’:

No, both are myths.  Living together by two adults with their consent and free will, is perfectly legal. Hon’ble Supreme court in its Judgment dt. 23.03.2010 has  clarified that adult man and woman living together without marriage does not  construed as an offence. Court has said  “When two adult people want to live together what is the offence. It came as the turning point for society as it opened  the door of live-in relationship in Indian Society. One more aspect is important here to understand that just living together for sensual pleasure in lieu of money would not amount to live-in relationship. The relationship must of  ‘just like marriage’ in nature and in substance. Needless to mention that marriage relationship is far more then just sensual pleasure.

2) Live-in is the promise to marry: 

That’s not true. If any one promises another that he/she will marry after, if found fit in live-in and later on withdraw from the promise then aggrieved party does not have any legal right to force to marry  with him/her.  Live-in is Neither agreement nor or accrue better right to marry.

 

3) ‘Live-in is real fun and exciting’:

No, It’s a myth. There are  no free lunches in the world. Every smile comes with a cost in our life.  So happens in the live-in as well.  Imagine a  situation that, One of the partner may get disappear all of sudden without even information living the other partner uninformed, emotionally destitute and helpless and later on claim that it was just a ‘live-in’ for mutual comfort and joy. Is that  funny?  Or a lady register a rape case against her male  partner that he has forcibly had sex last night, Is that sound exciting?  Is it easy  to prove ‘will and consent’ in these circumstances. Under the law a married lady can not do so because law does not recognize  rape  offence against her husband, but, here in ‘live-in’ there is neither wife nor husband exist. They are just male & female partners. So, a case can be made out.

 

4) ‘Live-in is just  better than marriage !”:

Depends on the individual situations. One should think rationally with pros-cons of both the ways of living together before to make any decision. You must agree, that in most of the cases marriage is far more serious relationship then live-in. Level of commitment is higher in marriage normally. But again, their circumstances, previous experiences and individual mind set where live-in suits more than the marriage.

 

5) ‘Live-in Couple live a healthier life due to  freedom:

 

It’s a myth. Before to discuss, this we have to come back to the basics of live-in. The live-in relationship  as described in the Webster dictionary is “A living arrangement in which an unmarried couple lives together in a long-term relationship that resembles a marriage”.  So, basically, living without marriage for purpose to check the compatibility among individuals  is live-in. Live-in couples become emotionally and financially unstable when their live-in partner exit from this weak knot. Mortality rate of single are higher then the married one. So, side marriage has risk of divorce and live-in has risk of separation which may lead a person to become ‘single’. Consequently the risk on health/psyche may increase then. 

 

6) ‘Because, Live-in is  more financially secured options. That’s a myth.  It appears at the surface that live-in is a secured option as far as financial security is concern but if one count the return of this investment of time, energy, mental and physical capitulate. One can easily understand that it is a no profit but little loss game ( as far as finances are concerned). There is always doubt about alimony, division of joint acquired property and inheritance. In general, married men earns more and spend with care due to factor of responsibility involved in comparison to live-in men.

 

7) ‘At least, Live-in is  free of children crying around’: 

That’s the myth. Society has seen several cases where children born out of live-in relationships. Rather, children out of live-in relationship are bigger issue then when the male partner denies the genetically relationship because it can be stigma on the female partner. However, there are legal ways and scientific methods to prove the genesis but prima-facie it comes as a  complex issue to solve. Recently, there was a similar high profile case of DNA test which all of us watched on TV.

 

8) ‘Any way, children born out of live-in relationships can have inheritance in Hindu Law.’: 

That’s still unclear. Though law usually inclines to the legitimacy of the children but as of now, we have cases  laws which  are mostly case specific only.  For example,  Supreme Court has passed a judgment on  17th May 2010 where presumption of marriage is allowed and children were considered as legitimate. Currently, it appears that one need to prove that the live-relationship were prolonged for many years and it was almost as the husband-wife relationship to claim the entitlement for children. Still  a law is required for the children born out of live-in relationship.

 

9) ‘Oh Great ! Women in live-in can not claim maintenance under Section 125 Cr.P.C’: 

No, That’s a myth. It seems to be little surprising truth that  Supreme court has clarified the question of maintenance under section 125 Cr.P.C by its judgment dated 16.09.2009  that a woman living in relationship may also claim maintenance under Sec.125 CrPC. So, those who think that they will engulf only sweets in live-in, need to rethink because they are under grab of  Sec. 125 Cr.P.C and their female partner can compel them for maintenances.

 

10) ‘Fine, at least in live-in relationship the lady can not file domestic violence’:  

That the myth. Please read Section 2 (F) (f) “domestic relationship” means a relationship between two persons who live or have, at any point of time, lived together in a shared household, when they are related by consanguinity, marriage, or through a relationship in the nature of marriage, adoption or are family members living together as a joint family”. It clearly states the two persons live together in a shared household. That’s it. Hon’ble Supreme Court has passed verdicts on this point where it is clarified that relationship should be of marital/domestic in nature. Even Live-in Partner can claim the shelter under  the same roof under this Act even after the separation. You might be watch a film-star’s live-in partner claiming the legal hirers for the shelter in the under the same roof. 

11) ‘Vow, Live-in does not give pain at the time of exit’:

Yes, that true. There will certainly not a problem in mutual separation in live-in because both can have a cup of coffee in coffee house and decide to who will remain in the roof and who will exit earlier. Comparing it with marriage which is complex process to get out of relationship. At least you have to file a divorce petition with mutual consent. You need to hire a lawyer who will tell you that court has given a date after six month and will get divorce after six month. Situation can be worst in case of heated divorce fight. So, there is ‘legal pain‘ involved for separation. But if the partners are emotionally affectionate the emotional pain will be equal or can be even more because partners may not prepared for it.

                                          

Conclusion: 

Purpose of marriage or live-in is not to waste precious life just for fun or sensual satisfaction. Both are the ways to fulfill the emptiness in life to create a healthy environment for personal growth and development. Life is like a river and it is impermanent. Marriage institution is also witnessing the change by way of live-in. Live-in relationship is a demand of the super-fast lifestyle of modern era. This change is inevitable and society has accepted it. One should get in to this relationship with full maturity and after considering the legal / social and more importantly personal aspect.  It is true that  complexities  of marriage laws are  increasing by every passing day, consequently, people prefer to get in to hassle free live-in  but that does not mean that on should be so scared that he/she become prejudice about marriage system. Life is very delicate thing and  mistakes in marriage or live-in can cost irreparable losses. The time, energy and trust  invested in relationship are most precious thing. I hope this article can help some one to make a better decision which fits to his/her individual circumstances.

 

ambrish 
on 12 February 2013
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