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To live or not to live in a Live-in Relationship!

In many big metro cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi etc live-in relationships have become common although in many parts of the country it is still considered as a taboo which was right since from British period. If these kind of relationships are seen in any rural areas it would mean inviting trouble by the couple, as it is considered wrongful act in the rural places where a man and woman to live under same roof without getting married.[1]

Legal definition that is given for live in relationship is “an arrangement of living under which the couples which are unmarried live together to conduct a long-going relationship similarly as in marriage”. The main reason for growth of such kind of relationships are the western influence on the youths of India. Although this concept is new to our society people have become open minded about such relationships. There has been an ocean of change in our societal arrangements from the era of arranged marriages to love marriages and the recent trend is live-in relationships. Although India has still preserved its culture and rituals, there has been a drastic change in the life of people and their thinking and so live-in relationship has become part of our developing society. In live-in relationship couple live together for many years under one roof without getting married or some may even experiment with their relationship before going in for a wedlock. Live-in relationship is simply an arrangement where two people decide to stay together for a long term and some people in such relationship do not opt for marriage. [2]

In India marriage is considered as a sacred bonding between two people and it gives more respect to a women, but the concept of live-in relationship has changed the concept of marriage itself in recent years.[3]  Even though live-in relationship is not illegal in India it is looked down upon by many people even in this modern era. Parents in recent times have started accepting such relationships just because they want to see their children happy in life.  Metro cities have a high rate of live-in relationship but faith in marriage still continue.[4]

Clinical psychologist SamindaraSawant from Mumbai has said that in India live-in relationship is not much considered but marriages are still much a norm in upper middle classes.[5] As per the survey done by The Journal of Marriage and Family, live-in relationships are quite weak commitments. Internet entrepreneur and blogger Priya Florence Shah has observed that live in relationship will be equal to settling for less than what one person deserves in life although it may give you a chance to know your partner before getting married.[6] May people consider that live in relationships are their personal matter and religious institutions should not controlled it.

Major drawback of this is that such a relationship is still not socially accepted in many parts of India. In this relationship people can keep it fresh and happy as long as they want as there is no restrictions on the partners. We can consider that unlike many developed nations like US, UK and Europe India is not friendly place for singles especially women who prefer to go in for live in relationship. This also has its own merits and demerits like any other relations between people who are in relationship.[7]

As some people want free relationships without much commitment for life and so they go in for live-in relationship but it does not mean that couple who are in live-in relationship do not fight, they too have their ups and downs in life. So we cannot say that only marriage brings in fights between couple but rather it is people’s own immaturity that lead to fights in any relationships.[8] This kind of live-in relationship brings in with it struggles in life, jealousies and other kinds of problems too.  In marriage there is a sense of commitment whereas it is not seen in a live-in relationship. When we look into such uncommitted relationships it will cause enormous amount of insecurity to people.[9]

In Indian society if you are married it is for life time and it is something very beautiful but nowadays it has become a source of exploitation and lead to a ugly life in this modern world that has also lost its sanctity.[10] Marriage is governed by various set of laws in almost all nations of the world to safeguard the interest of the couple including India. For live-in relationships in India there is no law governing it and in recent times where these kind of relationships are increasing in metro cities Supreme Court has observed that woman should be given same rights as that of a married woman will be entitled to. In countries like USA, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Australia live-in relationship are not considered illegal but practices commonly.[11]

Supreme Court headed by 3 judge bench Chief Justice K G Balakrishan, Deepak Verman, and B S Chuhan stated in Khushboos case that a man and woman without getting married are living together cannot be considered as an offence.[12] Women today are more independent and confident about themselves and so they like to live life as per their wish and take their own decisions and do not like to live under the male shadow. We can say that women in this century are like genie out of bottle and if you try to put her back in the bottle she will obviously revolt against it. Thus boys and girls have full freedom to live with whoever they like or love whether it can be live-in relationship or marriage. Dr Gitanjali Sharma an expert counsellor has said that India is following western culture in family life and so the huge bridge between Indian marriage system and Western world is dwindling.[13]

Arvind Yadav Vs Renu Sharma, dated 19th January, 2011 Delhi court allowed an 18 year old girl to live with a married man as she was major and she could chose a path for herself to live with any person she likes.[14]

With the intervention of judiciary government is taking measures in recent years to protect the interest of female live-in partner. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 has brought in economic rights to women in live in relation. A woman who is involved in cohabitation for certain period must be given the status of wife was considered by Maharashtra government.[15] National Commission of Woman  has urged Ministry of Women and Child Development to add female live in partner under the definition of wife in Section 125 of CrPC.

Many nowadays believe that it is better to go in for a live-in relationship than being a divorcee. Our society has not accepted it but still it prevails in our country and we need laws regarding for these kind of relationship to get it legalised and children born out of such relationships to get rights too. Although not many approve of this kind of relationship it is slowly becoming popular in India especially in metro cities. Marriage is preferred to any other form of union in India unlike western countries where live-in relationship is more common.[16]

Both marriage and live-in relationships are the ways to fulfil the emptiness in life that exist in single life. People must consider this relationship with complete maturity and if any mistake that happen in both relationships can cost irreparable injury to body and mind.[17]

by Sushma Javare.

  1. Live in relationships in India ( accessed on 5 April 2015
  2. Live-in-Relationships: The Indian Perspective ( accessed on 5 April 2015
  3. Id.
  4. Id.
  5. Id.
  6. Id.
  7. Live in relationships- are they good for you?( accessed on 6 April 2015
  8. Live-in relationships, a substitute for marriage?( accessed on 6 April 2015
  9. Id.
  10. Id.
  11. Live-in Relationship in Other Countries:( accessed on 6 April 2015
  12. Id.
  13. Live-in relations not the perfect in-thing?(–26981.asp#.VSIjbhrdcV0)accessed on 6 April 2015
  14. Live-inRelationship( accessed on 6 April 2015
  15. Live In Relationship in India – A Closer Look ( accessed on 6 April 2015
  16. Id.
  17. Myths & Law About Live-in Relationship In India ( accessed on 6 April 2015