Civil Procedure Code (CPC)

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  1. There is a lot of societal pressure and stigma related to live-in relations in India.
  2. People, especially young couples can be in a live-in with the necessary requirements.
  3. The important legislations and judgements help in understanding the concept of live-in relationships thoroughly.
  4. The social stigma attached to this modern phenomenon can be comprehended under the eyes of a study as discussed in this article.


A country which is opening its doors for topics which are westernized and quite opposite to the Indian perception of love and relations in adults, it is an interesting topic which needs to be understood in a better method. The main reason as to why people usually prefer such relationships is because it enables the couple to know each other better, but with no-strings-attached.

Living together without marriage is painstaking, noticed as a taboo and is very rare. In any case, as of late, things are changing quickly and couples have begun living without marriages in hopes of knowing each other better. Such relationships can last for a short or even for a considerable time, looking into the aspect of how comfortable one is. In Lata Singh Vs State of U.P, it was first held that, even though the concept of live-in relationship may be socially unacceptable, there was no law to announce it as illegal.


In Asha Devi and Suraj Kumar, the Allahabad High Court had stated that they were both adults, they were living as husband and wife and no one should interfere in their lives. The petitioner stated that she, Asha Devi, had a live-in relation with a man named, Suraj Kumar, without having obtained a divorce from her on-going boyfriend.

The state counsel stated that Asha Devi was previously married to Mahesh Chandra and has an ongoing live-in with Suraj Kumar without gaining divorce, which is an offence and thus is not permitted to any protection.

A Division Bench of Justice S P Kesarwani and Justice Y K Srivastava detected that Asha Devi remained as the lawfully wedded wife of Mahesh Chandra.

By way of Asha Devi being married, the act of petitioners, predominantly Suraj Kumar, might establish an offence underneath Sections 494 (espousing again during lifetime of husband or wife)/ 495 of the IPC, the Bench said.Such a relationship is not to fall within the expression of live-in relationship or relationship in the nature of marriage, the judges perceived.

The Division Bench, detected that Devi was still the legally wedded wife of Chandra and stated that “such a relationship does not fall within the [ambit] …of a live-in-relationship or relationship in the nature of marriage,”.

“The writ petition has been filed by the petitioners for defence from interruption by others in their living as husband and wife. If protection, as prayed for, is granted, it may amount to conceding protection against commission of offences under Sections 494/495 of the IPC,” the Court held. The Court stated that it cannot offer protection to anyone for an act which was illegal according to established laws. Their act was against the characterization of a live-in relationship demarcated by law and the Supreme Court. It is not a live-in relationship, but an act of adultery, it ruled. Also, anyone living with a married person after changing his/her religion is also acknowledged as void and illegal.

The five-judge bench, in a conjoint manner, struck down Section 497 of the IPC, which used to put an impasse on adultery. It stated that the given Section violated Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution. The Section, as stated by the Court, was an old fashioned, paternalized and archaic law. All it did was just keep on encroaching on women’s dignity and self-sufficiency. The same was also stated for Section 198 of the Code of Criminal Procedure because it only infringed women’s rights, directly and indirectly, especially when you look at the Sub-section 2 of it, which states that only a husband can file charges under that offence. The Bench overruled its many cases, which upheld Section 497 giving it its constitutional validity.
Adultery, is now not called a criminal offence, but a civil offence nonetheless. To elucidate more, divorce is available if the petition is filled under the grounds of adultery.


The right to live with a partner of one’s choice is an obligatory equivalent of the Right to life and personal liberty definite under Article 21. The Apex Court has, in quite a few rulings, held that live-in relationships are not illegal. It was apprehendedin S Khushboo vs Kanniammal & Anr (2010), that living together is a Right to life. The Court observed in Indra Sarma vs VKV Sarma (2013): “Live-in or marriage like relationship is neither a wrongdoing or illegal nor a sin though socially unacceptable in this country. The choice to marry or not to marry or to have a heterosexual relationship is powerfully personal.” In Lata Singh vs State of UP (2006), it was detected that a live-in relationship between two consenting adults of heterosexual sex does not sum to any offence even though it may apparently seem immoral.

The primary case in Badri Prasad vs Deputy Director of Consolidation, 1978, was that the Supreme Court recognized a live-in relationship and construed it as a valid marriage. In this case, the Court gave legal cogency to a 50-year-old live-in relationship. It was held by Justice Krishna lyer that a strong conjecture arises in favor of wedlock, where the partners have lived together for a long time as husband and wife. Although the presupposition is rebuttable, a heavy weight lies on those who seek to deny the relationship of its legal origin.

The Supreme Court, in Tulsa &Ors vs Durghatiya & Ors, 2008, ruled on the condition of the legal status of children born in a live-in relationship. It was held that one of the vital pre-conditions for such a child to not be declared as unlawful is that the parents must have lived under one roof and co-habited for a suggestively long time for society to differentiate them as husband and wife and it must not be a “walk in and walk out” relationship.

The Court, in Indra Sarma vs VKV Sarma, defined definite and distinct live-in relationships in five distinct ways. An internal ‘living-together’ habitation between an adult unmarried male and an adult unmarried female was the simplest and modest of such relationships.

In Alok Kumar vs State in the Delhi High Court, it was detected that a live-in relationship is a walk-in and walk-out relationship. Justice SN Dhingra distinguished: “There are no legal strings attached to this relationship nor does this relationship create any legal bond between the partners.”

In the absence of any detailed legislature with respect to live-in relationships, the Indian judiciary has taken a chief role to fill the gap. Its aim is to safeguard and give justice to the partners of live-in relationships, who were earlier threatened by any legislation or exposed to abuse arising out of such relationships. The judiciary prepares, if not expressly promotes, such a concept instead of prohibiting it. It ensures that there had better not be any loss of justice.

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act provides fortification to the ramparts and maintenance, thereby yielding the right of alimony to a distraught live-in partner, even though the common man is still uncertain and tentative to accept this kind of relationship.

In 2008, the National Commission of India endorsed to the Ministry of Women and Child Development to include a woman live-in partner for the right of maintenance under Section 125 of the CrPC, 1973. It was maintained by the ruling in Abhijit Bhikaseth Auti vs State of Maharashtra and Others. The objective of the commendation was the association of the other Sections of laws by means of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.


Individuals institute society. Individuals have a stimulus effect to the society. Relations between individuals, and the social order is a nearly intimate and close one. Thomas Hobbes, in his book ‘Leviathan’, upheld that civilization was comprehended to protect man from his irresponsible, animal as well as egoistic propensities. Conferring to John Locke, in nature, all men were born free and identical. Individual heads society. He is approximately right, even outside society. Individuals made a shared agreement and created society, giving it certain civil liberties and authority. In this way, society is a non-natural creation and it has no right to deprive the individual of his Fundamental Rights. Society can exercise controlled regulations over the rights of the individual only to the amount to which it has been granted rights, and to the extent to which authority has been devolved in it.
Society is a network of social associations. Social relationships include social procedures and social communications. In the arguments of Jones, ‘Social change is a term used to describe variations or modifications of any aspect of social processes, social patterns, social interactions, or social organization.

When human behaviour is in the process of alteration, this is only other way indicative of social change. Whatever ostensible alteration that occurs in the mutual behaviour between individuals, takes place as a sign of social change. The method of family, marriage, state, culture and social structure is always varying and being renovated. As a result, a transformation occurs in the life of a human and with his relations with others.


The legal explanation of live-in relationship is “the preparation of living under which the couples (who are unmarried) live together in the same way as in marriage.” Live-in-relationship is the arrangement in which a man and a woman live together, without getting into a connubial relation. This is at the present time being, taken as a substitute to marriage, especially in the metropolitan cities. At present, the law is unclear about the status of such connections, though a few rights have been settled to prevent gross misuse of the relationship by the partners.

Legalizing live in relationship means that a totally new set of laws need to be framed for governing the relations, including cases of desertion, cheating in such relationships, maintenance, inheritance etc.

Litigation would radically increase in this case. People may regard live-in relationships as depraved, but moral policing cannot be acceptable, especially when the procedure has endorsement from the touchstone of Fundamental Rights. A dispersed legislation should only be knowledgeable enough to grant assistance to the female partners distressed in such relationships.

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