By Alisha Dargar


Live-in relationship is prominently increasing in India as an easy way similar to marriage. It is described as a home between an unmarried adult couple. This is similar to a promise without worries with any legal obligations. On the contrary, it is very complicated, heavy and legal. Recently there has been an attempt to introduce it among many rules. This is not a minor offence in India, and in the Supreme Court's judgment, many guidelines have been given regarding the care, possession and legal status of children. However, this is a controversial issue in India. There are many gray. areas that need proper care, such as government documents, cultural issues, copyright, free will and rights, anti-religious status, and LGBT people[1].

The article's primary focus is on comprehending the concept of a live-in relationship with the help of secondary sources. After that, attempts have been made to study the problems and challenges faced by couples with the help of comparison and analysis methods. Finally, this article discusses the need to perfect regular and gender-specific rules for couples who decide to live together[2].

Keyword: live-in relationship, property, maintenance, same-sex, child rights.


It is an agreement to live together, that is, to decide that the two will live in an emotional and sexual relationship permanently or permanently. This term is used for unmarried couples. A live-in relationship is a relationship that indicates that two people live together without getting married. This idea is widely accepted and promoted in many countries around the world. According to the Apex Court, living together with a beloved woman and man is part of the right to life. Therefore, living relationships are no longer a crime. The Marimas Commission in 2003 paved the way for better recommendations. Above all, it is essential to emphasize the word "female" and assume that the woman who lives with her partner is equal. Thereafter, the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA) 2005

What are A Live-in Relationship and its Legality[3]

A live-in relationship is a relationship that doesn't make any rights and obligations that an entirely legitimate marriage makes. Neither the man will undoubtedly keep up the ladies nor the ladies' obligation towards the man. It tends to be characterized as a stroll in and leave the relationship. Both the people with one another's assent live respectively, not because they are hitched but since they need to live. The central issue that emerges is this sort of relationship is recognized. The appropriate response is yes, albeit a live-in relationship isn't perceived in any rule or some other government enactment. In any case, the Supreme Court of India, through different decisions, has given the live-in relationship legitimate support.

For the first time, whether a live-in relationship is a legal relationship came to the Supreme Court in the case of Badri Prasad v. Dy. Director of Consolidation[4]. In the present case, the parties were living in a live-in relationship for almost 50 years. The question before the court was whether their relationship is granted the same status granted to a married couple, and the apex court’s decision was in favour of the couple. The apex court granted legal status to their 50-year relationship.

Live-in Relationship and Law in India[5]

There is no particular law regarding the matter of live-in relationship in India. There is no enactment to lay down the rights and commitments for the parties in a live-in relationship and the status of children born to such couples. There is no legal definition of a live-in relationship, and in this way, the lawful status of such connections is likewise unverified. Indian law does not give any rights or obligations to the parties of live-in relationships. However, a court has clarified the concept of a live-in relationship through various judgments. Though the law is still unclear about the status of such relationship yet few rights have been granted by interpreting and amending the existing legislation so the partners can prevent that misuse of such relationships.

A Live-in relationship is not an offense

The Apex Court, in its various judgments, has stated that if a man and a woman living like a husband and a wife in a long-term relationship and even have children, the judiciary will presume that the two were married and the same laws would apply to them and their relationship. The concept of a live-in relationship was recognized in Payal Sharma v. Nari Niketan[6] by the Allahabad High Court, where it is observed by the Bench consisting of Justice M. Katju and Justice R.B. Misra that, "In our opinion, a man and a woman, even without getting married, can live together if they wish to. This may be regarded as immoral by society, but it is not illegal. There is a difference between law and morality." Afterward, in S. Khushboo v. Kanniammal & anr[7]case, the Supreme Court observed that live-in relation between two adults without formal marriage could not be construed as an offence. Further, it is added that there was no law prohibiting live-in relationships or pre-marital sex.

Article 21 of the Constitution of India guarantees the right to life and personal liberty as fundamental right. In Ramdev Food Products (P) Ltd. v. Arvindbhai Rambhai Patel,[8] the Court observed that two people in a live-in relationship without a formal marriage are not criminal offenders. Therefore, live-in relationships are legal in India.

Live-in relationship may not be acceptable to all, but it is not illegal nor an offence: Punjab and Haryana High Court[9]

The Punjab and Haryana high court has granted protection to a live-in couple – after last week, two other benches of the same high court frowned upon the concept.

Justice Sudhir Mittal held that adults have the right to choose their partners, and families should not intervene in that decision against the person’s will. “The individual also has the right to formalize the relationship with the partner through marriage or to adopt the non-formal approach of a live-in relationship,” he continued, according to Bar and Bench.

The petitioners approached the courtroom docket after the own circle of relatives of 1 people worried disagreed with the connection and reportedly threatened bodily harm. The couple first made an illustration to the police. However, they allegedly were given no response.

Justice Mittal argued that live-in relationships have become increasingly more famous in India, even out of doors of large cities. Such relationships aren't prohibited in law, and thus, individuals who input into such relationships are entitled to identical safety of rules, he argued.

Live-in relationships are comparable to marriages in opposition to parental wishes, in which the couple frequently desires protection, the choose said. “The simplest distinction is that the connection isn't always universally accepted. Would that make any distinction? In my taking into consideration opinion, it might now no longer. The couple fears for his or her protection from spouse and children in each condition and now no longer from society. They are thus, entitled to identical relief. No citizen may be authorized to take regulation in his very own arms in a rustic ruled via way of means of Rule of Law.”

Justice Mittal’s selection is in evaluation with different orders exceeded via the Punjab and Haryana excessive courtroom docket ultimate week, wherein it refused safety to live-in couples. On May 11, Justice H.S. Madaan even defined such relationships as “morally and socially unacceptable”.

On May 12, Justice Anil Kshetarpal refused safety to a live-in couple, saying, “In the taken into consideration view of this bench, if such safety as claimed is granted, the whole social material of the society might get disturbed. Hence, no floor to furnish the safety is made out.”


A live-in relationship might be an objectionable and new concept in India. However, it's far bourgeoning all over. In this modern lifestyle, which's partly rising because of the speedy effect of globalization, human beings aren't geared up to take obligations and take pleasure in a full-time dedicated courting. For teenagers, voluntary courting among couples primarily based totally on the broader know-how of home cohabitation in addition to the popularity of pre-nuptial agreements, usual tolerance toward sexual preferences, etc., is a brand new attraction. Live-in courting draws them as a higher manner to stay like marriage without marriage and any headaches and worries. On the contrary, it desires a good deal more significant duty and focuses on the socio-criminal perspectives.

Today, society and different corporations have additionally joined the judiciary in facilitating the legitimization of the idea of live-in relationship because the United States of America is slowly commencing its door to western culture, beliefs, and lifestyles. A first-rate step has been taken through the Madhya Pradesh State Women's Commission, which recommended that such unions be accorded legal status to secure the rights of tribal women in live-in relationships. Moreover, a unique event was organised by an NGO in Ahmedabad to help willing single senior citizens find companions.

[1] [2] [3] [4] AIR. (1978). SC. 1557 [5] [6] 2001 SCC OnLine All 332. [7] (2010) 5 SCC 600 [8] (2006) 8 SCC 726 [9]

Author: Alisha Dargar

BBA LLB, 2nd Year


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