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Updated: Nov 22, 2021

Evolution is persistent, something which is not at all terminable and, such evolution always leads to growth and development; evolution has now become a crucial part of our lives. It has served as the growth of what was existing before. In the same manner, our society too has flourished in so many manners. Marriage, which is considered a sacrament, is the union of two souls and is classified into love and arrangement. As we all know, one knows what lies ahead and something which is to predict. hence, it cannot be expected that every marriage will be successful. It takes a lot, effort and sacrifice to give rise to a successful marriage. The generation today has an altogether different expectation from the partners they want to spend their life with, and such expectations in some cases remain unfulfilled. ‘Today’s breakup is better than tomorrow’s Divorce’ goes the popular adage, the only way to check on whether a marriage will be successful or not, is by living together under the same roof and checking compatibility even before getting married. A live-in relationship is a key to every lock. The young generation is not ready for such commitments, which will affect them forever. A successful marriage also requires Love, as well as concord, a marriage without love and affection will be similar to a sweet course without sweetness, the constitution which is considered as the supreme law of our land provides, the right to live with a partner of one’s choice is a necessary coincident of right to life and personal liberty as guaranteed under article 21, the court further held that live-in relationships are permissible. The act of two major living together cannot be considered illegal or unlawful[1]. The supreme court, in several rulings, held that live-in-relationships are not illegal. Even if the parties in the case before it, despite being majors, were incompetent to enter into wedlock, they have a right to live together even outside wedlock.[1] We have adopted many steps that lead to modernization then; why are we still refusing to accept the concept of Live-in-Relationship, which is modern and effective. Live-in must not seem moral, but it at least allows partners who are living together to cross-examine if they are prepared for such a huge commitment. If not, it exempts them from the chaos of family drama and lengthy procedures if they elect to break up. When it comes to the legal status of live-in relationship in our country, there is no particular statute regarding the matter of live-in relationship in India neither there is any specific enactment to lay down the rights and commitments for the parties in a live-in relationship, neither for the child born out of such association. But, an individual expression of choice could not be curtailed as such freedom was conferred upon an individual who has attained the age of majority, both as a constitutional and human right[1]. With changing social norms of legitimacy in every society, including ours, what was illegitimate in the past may be legitimate today[2]. Indian judiciary has taken many initiatives to clear the dilemma with regards to the Live-in relationship. Where a man and lady are proved to have lived respectively as a spouse, the law will presume, unless the opposite is demonstrated, that they were living respectively due to a legitimate marriage and not in a condition of concubinage[3]. A man and woman, even without getting married, can live together if they wish to. This may be regarded as immoral by society, but it is not illegal. There is a difference between law and morality[4]. Though not every live-in relationship is permissible, “when the woman is aware of the fact that the man with whom she is in a live-in relationship and who already has a legally wedded wife and two children, is not entitled to various reliefs available to a legally wedded wife and also those who enter into a relationship in the nature of marriage, as per (pwdva)[5],2005”[6]. Yet, another recent judgement where the court held “the concept of a live-in relationship may not be acceptable, but it cannot be said that such a relationship is an illegal one or that living together without the sanctity of marriage constitutes an offence, it would be a travesty of justice in case protection is denied to persons who have opted to reside together without the sanctity of marriage, and such persons have to face dire consequences at the hands of persons from whom protection is sought.[7]” as provided in the Indian Evidence act, 1872, the court may presume the existence of any fact which it thinks likely to have happened, regarding being given to the common course of natural events, human conduct and public & private business, in a relationship as to the facts of the particular case. Therefore, where a man and a lady live respectively for a long time as a couple, there would be an assumption of marriage[1]. Section 125 CrPC was incorporated to avoid vagrancy and destitution for a wife/minor child/old age parents. The same has now been extended by judicial interpretation to partners of a live-in relationship[2]. Suppose a man and woman are living under the same roof and cohabiting for some years. In that case, there will be a presumption under section 114 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 that they live as husband and wife, and the children are born to them will not be illegitimate[1]. A child born out of a live-in relationship may be allowed to inherit the property of parents (if any) and therefore be given legitimacy in the eyes of the law. In the absence of specific legislation, we have seen that the Indian Judiciary has been protecting the children's rights by giving the law a broader interpretation so that no child is ‘bastardize’ for not fault his/her own.[2] The live-in relationship had been recognized in law as much as they found mention in the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act,2005[3].

Apart from these, a 2018 survey on live-in relationships by leading news app, Inshorts, revealed how Gen Y feels about living together outside the purview of marriage. The survey received 1.4 lakh views from netizens provides that 80% of the millennials believe that “the Indian society still considers live-in relationship as huge taboo while 47%find marriage is better than living-in with their partner”. Another segment of the survey determined that over 80% of Indians support the concept of live-in, and among these, 26% would choose lifelong live-in relationships as a way of life if they could.[1]

As an epilogue, it can be stated that, though our judiciary has almost interpreted live-in relationships broadly and positively, it has somewhat disqualified to give it a legal status by not establishing a proper statute that governs only the matters with regards to live-in relationship and no further. One of the fundamental rights, i.e., legalizing LGBTQ,s live-ins since, with the passage of time and evolution of society, procreation is not the only reason people choose to come together, have live-in relationships, perform coitus or even marry. They do so far for a whole lot of reasons, including emotional companionship[1]. Our judiciary has failed to establish a specific law regarding queer couple’s marriage and the exclusively available rights to them in that respect. We, the people, are responsible and shall spread awareness regarding how positive the concept of a Live-in relationship forsooth is! Coming to an end, one shall never muddle up between immoral and illegal as both are distinct from one another.


[1] Khusboo v. Kanniammal, (2010) 5 SCC 600

[2]Nandakumar & another v. State of Kerala and others, 2018 AIR (SC) 2254

[3]Sony Gerry v. Gerry Doughlas, 2018 AIR (SC) 2254

[4]Revanasiddappa v. Mallikarjun, (2011) 11 SCC 1

[5]Andrahennedige Dinohamy v. Wijetung Liyanapatabendige Blahamy, AIR 1929 PC 185

[6]Payal Sharma v. Nari Niketan, 2001 SCC online All 332


[8] Indra Sharma v. V.K.V. Sharma, (2013) 15 SCC 755

[9] Soniya and another v. State of Haryana and others

[10] Section 114 of The Indian Evidence Act, 1872

[11] Ajay Bharadwaj v. Jyotsna, 2016 SCC online P&H 9707

[12] S.P.S. Balasubramanyam v. Suruttayan, (1994 1 SCC 460)

[13] Bharatha Matha v. R. Vijaya Renganathan, AIR 2010 SC 2685

[14]Shafin Jahan v. Asokan K.M., 2018 SCC online SC 343


[16]Navtej Singh Johar & Ors v. Union of India, AIR 2018 SC 4321

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