India, a country of cultural values and rituals, cannot afford to plunge into western society. But since the growing economy and people are becoming more aware, India finally has to step ahead and walk with the rest of the world by legalising Live-in relationships. The state cabinet gave its green signal to amend Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which seeks to protect the financial interests of the other women.
Meaning of Live-in Relationship:
Cohabitation is an arrangement whereby two people decide to live together on a long term or permanent basis in an emotionally and sexually intimate relationship. Live-in relationship handles premarital sex, but those couples who are maintaining relations don’t mind such things. Overall, this relation builds up harmony between the couples but spoils their social influence.
Difference between Live-in Relationship and Marriage:
Marriage is governed by a separate set of laws in all countries, which safeguards the interests of both parties who enter into the union. On the other hand, a few countries have recognised live-in relationships, such as France and the Philippines. In India, presently, there is no law defining the maxims of a live-in relationship. However, the Supreme Court has observed in a current ruling that a woman should enjoy the same rights that a married woman is entitled to.
Live-in Relationship in Other Countries:
Cohabitation after divorce is frequently punished by the salishi system of informal courts, especially in rural areas. In Indonesia, an Islamic penal code proposed in 2005 would have made cohabitation punishable by up to two years in prison. On the other side, many developed countries like the USA (23% in 2003) and Sweden (above 50%), etc. Live-in relationships are very commonly practised, accepted and are not considered to be illegal.
Live-in Relationship: Indian Scenario:
Live-in relations suffered a setback with the bar imposed by the Supreme Court in its recent judgment. The court said even Lord Krishna and Radha lived together according to mythology. This ruling may not be accepted as a general law at all. It is only justified in this particular matter, but if applied to all live-in relations raising a presumption of the marital bond would result in a gross miscarriage of justice. The Supreme Court allowed the presumption of marriage u/s 114 of Evidence Act out of live-in relations and presumed that their children were legitimate. Mariammal claim her brother Muthu Reddiars property, who died unmarried and intestate. After his death, she claimed inheritance, but the trial court did not accept her live in a claim. Subsequently, the Madras High Court held in favour of Rengammal.
The right time has come that efforts should be made to enact a law having explicit provisions about the time span required to give status to a live-in relationship, registration and rights of parties and children born out of it. Our culture does need a legislature to regulate relationships that are likely to grow in number with changes in people’s ideology.
By Manjit Singh