LCI Learning

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Share on LinkedIn

Share on Email

Share More

Abstract: The culture of India refers to the religions, beliefs, customs, traditions, languages, ceremonies, arts, values and the way of life in India and its people. Indian culture is changing in consonance with changing time. Of course, change is the Rule of the nature & Survival is optional. Changes are occurring in every corner of the society, from home to international plane. Laws, meant for the regulation of human behavior should also mould according to the changing diversities in the behavioral pattern of the society at large. Culture of Marital relation in the form of family is one of the age old and cultured conceptions of Hindu society. The world has accepted it as the notion of advanced prudence. However, according to some social thinkers, it is now showing a dilapidated trend in India. Law relating to maintenance is one of the basic features of the family structure of the human society. As the societal forms and norms are changing, the law relating to maintenance is also changing accordingly.

The term "maintenance" is no longer remain as the term of pity but it has acquired new face. Various statutory and personal laws pertaining to "claim of maintenance" are taking due notice of changing facets of marital relationship. Here the author has tried to put forth the changing Indian attire with changing time with special reference to Law relating to maintenance in live in relationship. It is a beginning of new cultural crisis in India which has to be focused and studied by scholars & social thinkers from different perspectives. Keywords- Law relating to maintenance, Live in relationship, Marital relation Changing Indian Attire with Changing Time- with special reference to Law relating to Maintenance in Live in Relation Mahendra Subhash Khairnar, Asstt. Prof. Bharati Vidyapeeth's Yashwantrao Chavan Law College, Karad, Dist. Satara The first bond of society is marriage; the next, our children; then the whole family and all things in common. [Lat., Prima societas in ipso conjugio est: proxima in liberis; deinde una domus, communia omnia.] - Cicero (Marcus Tullius Cicero), De Officiis (I, 17)

1. An Acquaintance: The culture of India refers to the religions, beliefs, customs, traditions, languages, ceremonies, arts, values and the way of life in India and its people. I find that the society is changing a lot in terms of acceptance of the many roles of women as professionals, as bread-earners in families and as independent thinking individuals. Women have proved themselves as equals in many professions as well as proved themselves even better suited than men in others. The situation for the changing role of women is improving fast. The traditional role of a man has been the one of earning the money for the running of the home. This has changed to a great extent. However with the changing role of women in Indian society another problem has arisen instinctively. Growing ratio & attitude of Indian society towards Live in relationships has given birth to some intricate issues in the nature of cultural, legal and social perspectives.

2. Marital relation: Ever since the male & female came in close contact of each other upon this earth, there has been mutual attraction due to certain biological and psychological causes resulting in the establishment of intimate relationship. The mutual attraction of male and female is a biological and psychological fact. Marriage is a more or less permanent association of one or more male with one or more female for the purpose of giving social sanction to progeny, satisfaction of biological and social needs and fulfillment of dharma. Live in relationships does provide a remedy for a carefree life free from the hassles of responsibility and commitment which is the very prerequisite of the institution of marriage. Marriage promotes adjustment while in live in relationship the emphasis is on individual freedom. The present article will focus on the changing attitude of the society in accepting the extra-marital relation. However it is a genus giving rise to many socio-legal issues one among is the  - provision relating to maintenance.

Much jurisprudential and judicial churning was taken place on the issue. Here the author has provided some prominent judicial decisions in India & abroad and analyzed them in the light of its pros and cons. The author has tried to focus more specifically on the issue of maintenance that will be available to party involved in Live-In relation with another. The author is not here to say about good, bad, reasons or effects of the Live-in relation but "provision relating to maintenance" in and around.

3. Changing Indian Attire with Changing Time: with special reference to Law relating to Maintenance The concept of "maintenance" in India is covered both under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Section 125) and the personal laws. This concept further stems from Article 15(3) reinforced by Article 39 of the Constitution of India, 1950 (the 'Constitution'). Under Indian law, the term "maintenance" includes an entitlement to food, clothing and shelter, being typically available to the wife, children and parents. It is a measure of social justice and an outcome of the natural duty of a man to maintain his wife, children and parents, when they are unable to maintain themselves . The object of maintenance is to prevent immorality and destitution and ameliorate the economic condition of women and children. Maintenance can be claimed under the respective personal laws of people following different faiths and proceedings under such personal laws are civil in nature. Proceedings initiated under Section 125 however, are criminal proceedings and, unlike the personal laws, are of a summary nature and apply to everyone regardless of caste, creed or religion. The object of such proceedings however, is not to punish a person for his past neglect. The said provision has been enacted to prevent vagrancy by compelling those who can provide support to those who are unable to support themselves and have a moral claim to support. Maintenance can be claimed either at the interim stage, ie, during the pendency of proceedings, or the final stage.

4. Judicial precedents: There is a spate of judicial precedents on the issue of maintenance. Until recently, the term "wife" was interpreted in a narrow manner, since the intention of the judiciary was to protect destitute and harassed women. The Indian courts held that only a legally married woman was entitled to claim maintenance. The change in perception vis-à-vis social relationships and the growing trend of live-in relationships has influenced the Indian mindset. This is apparent from a recent case decided by the Delhi High Court, in a personal law matter, wherein the couple had lived like a married couple for 14 years and the man had concealed the fact that he was already married. Furthermore, the woman had taken the responsibility of running the household as a housewife, treated the man as her husband and had borne and bred two of his children. The view taken by the court was that on account of the nature of the relationship and the aforementioned facts, the woman should not be deprived of her right to maintenance, under the personal law applicable to Hindus (which constitutes almost 80 per cent of Indians).

The court further expressed that denial of maintenance under such circumstances would amount to putting a premium on or rewarding the man for defrauding the woman by concealing his first marriage. It was further recorded that for the purpose of granting maintenance under the personal law, women placed in the position of second wife, can be treated as legally wedded wives and are entitled to maintenance. In a case decided on 14 November 2008, the Apex Court has recently ruled that maintenance necessarily encompasses a provision for residence and has therefore ordered that the woman be provided with a residential facility similar to that which she had been accustomed in the past .

5. Maintenance-? for Live-In? Some judicial views: Coming to the rescue of a 30-year-old maid, who claimed to be in a live-in relationship with her 65-year-old widower employer, the Delhi High Court has directed him to pay Rs 3,000 a month to her as maintenance . On the one hand, aggrieved persons other than wife or a female living in a relationship in the nature of marriage, viz., sister, mother, daughter or sister-in-law as aggrieved person can file application against adult male person only. But on the other hand, wife or female living in a relationship in the nature of marriage is given right to file complaint not only against husband or male partner, but also against his relatives. Section 125 Cr.P.C. provides for giving maintenance to the wife and some other relatives. The word `wife' has been defined in Explanation (b) to Section 125(1) of the Cr.P.C. as follows; Wife includes a woman who has been divorced by, or has obtained a divorce from, her husband and has not remarried. In Vimala (K) vs. Veeraswamy (K) a three- Judge Bench of this Court held that Section 125 of Cr.P.C. is meant to achieve a social purpose and the object is to prevent vagrancy and destitution. Explaining the meaning of the word `wife' the Court held: the object is to prevent vagrancy and destitution. It provides a speedy remedy for the supply of food, clothing and shelter to the deserted wife.

When an attempt is made by the husband to negative the claim of the neglected wife depicting her as a kept-mistress on the specious plea that he was already married, the court would insist on strict proof of the earlier marriage. The term `wife' in Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, includes a woman who has been divorced by a husband or who has obtained a divorce from her husband and has not remarried. The woman not having the legal status of a wife is thus brought within the inclusive definition of the term `wife' consistent with the objective. However, under the law a second wife whose marriage is void on account of the survival of the first marriage is not a legally wedded wife, and is, therefore, not entitled to maintenance under this provision. In a subsequent decision of this Court in Savitaben Somabhat Bhatiya vs. State of Gujarat and others , this Court held that however desirable it may be to take note of the plight of an unfortunate woman, who unwittingly enters into wedlock with a married man, there is no scope to include a woman not lawfully married within the expression of `wife'.

The Bench held that this inadequacy in law can be amended only by the Legislature. A divorced wife is treated as a wife for the purpose of Section 125 Cr.P.C. but if a person has not even been married obviously that person could not be divorced. Hence the respondent herein cannot claim to be the wife of the appellant herein, unless it is established that the appellant was not married to Lakshmi . Having noted the relevant provisions in The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, the court pointed out that the “expression `domestic relationship' includes not only the relationship of marriage but also a relationship `in the nature of marriage'. The question, therefore, arises as to what is the meaning of the expression `a relationship in the nature of marriage'. Unfortunately this expression has not been defined in the Act. Since there is no direct decision of this Court on the interpretation of this expression we think it necessary to interpret it because a large number of cases will be coming up before the Courts in our country on this point, and hence an authoritative decision is required. In our opinion Parliament by the aforesaid Act has drawn a distinction between the relationship of marriage and a relationship in the nature of marriage, and has provided that in either case the person who enters into either relationship is entitled to the benefit of the Act.

6. Conclusion: The culture of India refers to the religions, beliefs, customs, traditions, languages, ceremonies, arts, values and the way of life in India and its people. Cultural crisis are increasing speedily in the family structure of Indian society. Live in relation and certain others are the products of globalization of family system & culture flowing in the name of widening aspects of personal liberty. Here the author has given some views on one of the dimensions of Live in relationship many other are needed to be studied extensively.

Mahendra Subhash Khairnar

Asstt. Prof. Bharati Vidyapeeth's Yashwantrao

Chavan Law College, Karad, Dist. Satara

"Loved reading this piece by mahendra khairnar?
Join LAWyersClubIndia's network for daily News Updates, Judgment Summaries, Articles, Forum Threads, Online Law Courses, and MUCH MORE!!"

Tags :

Category Civil Law, Other Articles by - mahendra khairnar