Supreme Court on Live- in Relationship : A Right to Life

  • Supreme Court on Live- in Relationship : A Right to Life

    Date : 05-07-2018 11:45

    When a man and a woman live together without marriage in a long-term relationship which resembles a marriage is known as a live-in relationship. There is no law in India which prohibits live in relationship. In 2015 divisional bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C Pant observed that “Live-in relationship has become an accepted norm now in modern times. It is not a crime.”  The activism of judicial font has given rise to this concept which has created more problem than it has solved. This concept has created a fierce debate across the country when the Hon’ble Supreme Court gave the nod to it. In India, it is considered that this concept will destroy the sanctity of marriage.

    For the first time, the Supreme Court of India recognized the live-in relationship was in the case of Badri Prasad v. Dy. Director of Consolidation where the court gave legal sanction to a 50-year live-in relationship of a couple. While deciding a case the Supreme Court ruled that when a man and a woman are involved in a live-in relationship for a long-term then they will be treated as married and the child born out of this relationship will be legitimate. To safeguard women’s interest in a live-in relationship, changes have been introduced in law i.e. Domestic Violence Act, 2005. This law gives protection to women who are engaged in a live-in relationship for a reasonably long period of time and also promises those women status of wives. The judicial activism has been used to propagate the protection of interests of women in these relationships and has also laid down conditions where the man is liable to pay alimony to his women as if they were married. It has ensured women and children born out of such relationship to live their life with dignity.

    The Supreme Court under Article: 21 of Indian Constitution has included a plethora of rights one of them being is right to marriage as also reiterated in case of Lata Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh. Article 21 guarantees right to life and personal liberty which also include the right to choose partners with whom one wants to spend his/her life with. Thus, the Supreme Court of India in case of S. Khushboo v. Kanniammal & Anr. recognized that living together is a right to life under Art: 21 and dropped the charges against the South Indian Actress Khushboo.  

    The law cannot be static; it needs to be developed with the changing social behavior. In one of the judgments, Supreme Court noted that live-in relationship may be immoral but is not illegal. The acts of judicial activism have to be coupled with legislative authority in process of its implementation.

    These rulings and judgment of Supreme Court are certainly encouraging more young men and women as they would be now convinced that no law is being violated by them. It can be hoped only that the adult couples involved in this relationship think about the pros and cons and also consider the impact of their decision on each other’s families and basically upon themselves.

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