New Delhi: Hon’ble Apex Judicial Authority decided that when a couple is found living with each other as Husband and wife, irrespective of their marriage, they should be presumed to be legally Married. Further, the woman under such relationship would be entitled in respect of properties inheritance when man thereof dies.
The presumption was ruled by the Bench of Justice M. Y. Eqbal and Justice Amitava Roy of Hon’ble Apex Court. The Bench said that the presumption will be operative when continuous cohabitation of a couple will be there and burden of proving such fact will be on the part of the opposite party claiming that they were not married legally.
It is seen from the recent past years more particularly, from the year 2010, Hon’ble Apex Court is providing regular rulings in favour of such fact of couples living with each other, having cohabitation without being married with each other, to be treated as husband and wife as they would have been legally married and simultaneously, the Court is also providing rights to the concerned women as that of legally wedded wives.
This time, the Hon’ble Apex Court has ruled this presumption, while dealing with the case of property dispute in which family members were having plea that their grandfather was though having been living with another woman for certain years after the death of his lawful wife, had not married with that another woman as such it was claimed that her right to inherit property of that grandfather is not subsist.
However, the Apex Court has decided that though that woman has failed to prove that there was a legal marriage among that grandfather and herself, it could be safely presumed that she was the legal wife when the family members of the concerned grandfather has admitted that he was having a relationship with the woman who was also living along with all family members in joint family. Moreover, the Court has also observed that the presumption can be rebutted by leading un- impeachable evidence.
As such, the rule was laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court that, if there is continuous cohabitation as husband and wife among a couple for a number of years then a presumption as to their marriage can be safely drawn in favour of woman living as such, and it can only be rebutted if there are reasonable circumstances destroying such presumption.
by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan.