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Live-in Partners get maintenance under new order of Supreme Court

On May 5th, 2015 Supreme Court ordered that if a man and woman were living in live-in relationship and if that relationship broke down then the man is held liable to pay maintenance to that woman and the child born out of such relationship. The petition that was filed by a man who said that, since he was married to another woman and later entered into live-in relationship with this lady and so she is not his wedded partner and thus cannot claim his wife’s status and is also not entitled under Hindu Marriage Act for maintenance, this plea was dismissed by Justices A M Sapre and Justices Vikramajit Sen. Court held that not just a legally wedded wife is entitled to maintenance but live-in partner too.  Justice Sen said that it was quite bad that the man’s petition stated about his live-in partner as a “Call Girl” which was very degrading. This petition was filed by the man who works in Bollywood and held that he was married for another woman for 49 years and said that this woman was not his wife and cannot ask for maintenance. The bench said that the man is himself was a womaniser and so he went in for such a relationship although being married.

As per the petition couple met in 1985 and thus their friendly relationship grew and so they met frequently and they had travelled together on a foreign trip and they had also lived in a rented house for over a period of time. Later the woman delivered a girl baby in 1988 and the man in 1995 had owned a flat in Mumbai in their joint names. Woman later sought to court to declare their marriage as null and void but claimed maintenance as Rs 20,000 from him. Case went on till 2014, but Family court in between had passed a decree asking the man to provide some maintenance to the woman. High Court later passed another order to maintain both his daughter and the woman.

Supreme Court held that if a man and woman live together as a couple then it can be presumed that they were validly married to each other and it will be for the opposite party to prove that they were not married.

by Sushma Javare.