Change is considered to be the only constant. This is the scenario witnessed by Indian society in the past few years. People are gradually evolving their rationales on pre marital sex, live in relationships, and other concepts. Speaking of live in relationships, unlike marriage, the couples are living together without marriage. They lead a married life without actually getting married. There have been conflict of opinions with regard to status of live in relationships since the longest times. The courts have given varied opinions in different case laws with regard to the status of live in relationships in India. In simpler terms, we can say that it is cohabitation between unmarried people. People usually go for live in relationships in order to understand the compatibility between them. They decide to have a check on the habits, compatibility, choices, and nature of each other. This practice has been a matter of a long lasting debate. However, there have been several instances where children born out of live in relationships have been kept out of the realm of law. And, other incidents where the relationships have turned out to be vulnerable for the partners.
Laws related to live in relationships in India
There are no specific laws that deal with the status of live in relationships in India. However, several explicit contentions have mentioned the status of live in relationships in the legal paradigm. Even though the laws related to live in relationships still remain unclear, some rights have been granted by law, after continuous interpretation and amendments to the couples living in live in relationships. The different legislations are as follows:
- Domestic Violence Act, 2005
- Criminal Procedure Code, 1973
- Evidence Act, 1872
- Other interpretations as per case laws
It is opined that court shall presume the existence or presence of events that might have taken place, when there has been regard given to the normal course of events that take place or would have taken place. This is the reason, why, when a man and woman has been living together for quite some time, it is presumed that they are living a married life. This is true that changing society has certainly made several presumably illegitimate things legitimate, with the growth and development of law and varied interpretations. People and law have become more accepting and tolerant towards the choices and preferences of each other, with special regard to the safety and security of the people. However, excess of anything is not good and thus, there is a strong need of having rigid laws that ensure safety and security of parties and people associated with them.
Indian judiciary strive to reduce the gap between the status of live in relationships and absence of certain legal predicaments and legislations on the live in relationships. The Indian judiciary doesn’t promote any idea and never even prohibits the right of people to carry forward their thought processes and preferences in life. In several prominent case laws, the hon’ble Supreme Court has given certain guidelines regarding the status of live in relationships in India. The court speaks of
- Duration of period of limitation
- Shared household
- Pooling of social arrangements
- Pooling of financial resources
- Domestic, social and other relationships
- Sexual relationships between the partners or cohabitation
- Public appearances and social activities
- Nature of relationship
- Conduct of parties
Legislation on children born out of live in relationships
In one of the landmark cases, the court was of the opinion that children born out of live in relationships will not be considered as illegitimate because the couples have been living and acting like married couples.
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