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LIVE IN RELATIONSHIP: LEGAL PERSPECTIVE AND PROBLEMS

The laws and society both work hand in hand for the betterment of every individual in society. The changes in the rules and regulations of the society show that the law plays an important role in shaping the structure of a society. Marriages in Asian countries are considered to be of at most importance and are mostly about the religious rituals. Marriage can be defined as a legal contract or a social union between two people who create a kinship. The concept of live-in relationship isn’t new to western culture. People in India are still adapting to this new culture and some people hesitate to frankly speak about their status or live-in relationship to society. People head in their thinking in a direction as to whether welcoming the culture of live-in relationship will invite pre-marital sexual relations between the couple, which they regard as a sin.

One can define the live-in relationship as an arrangement between two people who decide to live together permanently and supporting one another emotionally and physically. It is a relationship wherein a couple is connected to each other, but not hitched.  The legitimate definition of Live-in Relationship is “a course of action of living together beneath one roof where the couples are single to conduct a lone-going relationship additionally as in marriage.”

REASONS FOR GROWTH OF LIVE IN RELATIONSHIPS:

The foremost advantage of a live-in relationship over marriage is that it is wholly secular in nature. Marriage has also been secular over time, marriage is considered to be a legal and a social institution which is inseparable. In the case of Malti vs. the State of U.P., the Court held that a woman living with a man, whom she is serving as a cook and having an intimate relationship cannot be given the title of his “wife.” The increase in the number of live-in relationships has been observed because of inter-caste marriages, failures in marriages and higher education. According to the law, a man having a living spouse is a complete nullity in the eye of law and she is not entitled to the benefit of Sec125 of the Code. The law will not give any recognition to that they lived together even if their marriage was void.

The Courts have not recognised live-in relationships as an independent institution as marriage, i.e. the presumption of marriage was a key element. In a nation like India, bounded by endless emotions, the law finds legitimately nothing off-base in live-in relations. Nowadays, although the concept of live-in relationships has emerged in India, some people still consider it as a taboo because for them it is considered as the dilution of ethics and morals.

This new concept of live-in relationships emerged from the entertainment industry, media, movie, modelling, etc but the lower and the middle caste people still haven’t accepted this new norm completely and soon there will be a time where both live-in relationships and legal marriages co-exist.

PROS AND CONS OF LIVE-IN RELATIONSHIPS:

PROS:

  • For a marriage consent and commitment is needed from both the individuals, but in case of live-in relationships break ups tend to be less.
  • In live-in relationships, one gets sufficient time to know each other before getting hitched.
  • Rise in terms of security and flexibility. In live-in the doors are open and no legal process to be done and so no commitment issues.

CONS:

  • This concept is still unthinkable, particularly by the elder people.
  • Ladies suffer the most, society and people put a character question on the girls first, it’s the rule of the society
  • Sometimes couples discover it troublesome to bear the duties that marriage brings together.

LAW AND LIVE-IN RELATIONSHIP:

The society has invited the change and has been trying to adapt and adjust with the change since then. There are a number of couples who stay together without a certificate of marriage and not caring about the world; also the people of society to some extent have started adapting to this new trend. Looking at the present situation the Supreme Court explained that live-in is not an offence and made the validity of such couples better. The Supreme Court in the Malimath Committee, which in its report submitted in 2003, watched that:

“if a man and a lady living together as husband and wife for a sensibly long period, the man might be considered to have hitched woman. The Malimath report had suggested that the word spouse beneath Cr. P.C be revised to include a lady living with the man like his wife so that indeed a lady having a live-in relationship with a man would be entitled to alimony.

In the case of Tulsi and Ors vs. Durgahatiya and Ors, the Supreme Court held that if a man and a woman have been living together in a live-in relationship for a long period of time would be regarded as husband and wife and their child would be legitimate. In the case of Khusboo vs. Kanniamal and another, the Supreme Court held that if a man and woman are living together without marriage, it cannot be constructed as an offence as it violates Article 21( Right to Life of an individual).

CONCLUSION:

Law takes its own time to articulate such social changes and in society, with varying social needs the law cannot remain static. India is a country which is filled with social customs, traditions and values and it cannot afford to fall for the western ways and the ideas. However, with the growing economy and people being more aware than before, India has also started to dwell in this new culture and legalized live-in relationships. The argument for replacing marriage with live-in relationship should have considerable appeal to those who recognize the social benefits of marriage but are troubled by the out-dated values and historic traditions that continue to define this legal institution. The laws are not very clear on the live-in relationship at the global level; the countries are hesitant to recognize it.

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