India has observed an extreme increase in live in relationship in younger generation.This is because in result of a freedom,privacy,profession, education and globalization. And also couple can know each other but it is not a binding relationship and there will not be responsibility and obligations towards one another and this relation is unconfirmed. In some parts of the country this live-in-relationship is valid and in some other parts of country it is extremely strict to accept the concept.
An arrangement of living under which the couples are unmarried, live together to conduct a long-term relationship which is as similar to marriage.(1)
The constitution of India has certain fundamental rights I.e.,Art.21 Right to life and personal liberty. In the landmark case of S.khushboov v. Kanniamal (2), the supreme court held that a living relationship comes within an ambit of Art.21 of the constitution. The court further held that live in relationship are permissible and the act of two major living together cannot be considered unlawful.
Latest supreme court judgement on live in relationship
Right of child born out of live in relationship couple
Anitha and John were in live in relationship. But their families were against their relationship because of different religion. Anitha after separated from her husband,she gave her child to child welfare committee. Under the provisions of the adoption regulations,2017 and section 38 of the Juvenile Justice(care and protection)Act, 2015, the child welfare committee continued to place the child for adoption, considering Anitha as a single mother. After sometime , both Anitha and John filed a habeas corpus before Kerala high court, requesting that their child to returned to them.
The court said that, the couple has a restoration as well, so they order the custody of child to the live in relationship couple by stating that biological parent’s parental rights are a fundamental right not preconditioned by the institutionalisation of legal marriage.
But the supreme court stays the order of the Kerala High court ,by saying that it ha not considered the hearing of the adoptive parents. The court contents that adoption creates a permanent relationship between the child and adoptive parents ,and the biological parent cannot reclaim the child. So the petitioners were appointed as adoptive parents.(3)
Granting a protection to live in relationship
In Gulza kumari and ors. V. State of Punjab(4)
Singh and kumari were living in live-in-relationship and there parents were against to their relationship. They both approached to the high court seeking protection from the girls parents. But the Punjab and Harayana High court dismissed the plea by observing that:
Live in relationship, which is morally and socially not acceptable.
Justice kshetarpal in his brief order said,
In the considered view of this bench,if such protection as claimed is granted,the entire social fabric of the society would get disturbed. Hence,no ground to grant the protection is made out.
The couple filed an appeal to supreme court, the Supreme court granted protection to live in relationship. Importantly ,the court ordered that:
Needless to state that since it concerns life and liberty, the superintendent of police is required to act expeditiously in accordance with law, including the grant of any protection to the petitioner in view of the threats, uninfluenced by the observation of the high court.(5)
Now slowly India is also recognizing the status of live in relationship couples by supreme court delivering various judgements. It is the interest of couple,where there will be consent of both the parties which is not morally wrong . Now supreme court also recognised a right of a child born out of the couple and there is also maintainence right to girl to claim from a boy. Social values and norms have changed for the new generation.
1. available at, http://www.legalserviceindia.com
2. available at, http://www.livelaw.in./supreme/court/stays/kerala/high/court/ruling/173497.
4. available at: https://www.livelaw.in/supreme-court-live-in-couple-socially-morally-unacceptable -remark.
Author: Sanjana Purohit,
Karnataka State Law University,B,B,A.,LL,B(Hons.)8th sem/Law student.