With the passage of time and modernity, India’s social dynamics have experienced some beneficial improvements. And a slew of progressive rulings over the previous decade are proof of that. In the case of KS. Puttaswamy v. Union of India, the Supreme Court recognised privacy as a basic right in 2017. In NALSA v. Union of India, the Supreme Court of India upheld transgender people’s rights in 2014. In Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India, it decriminalised S. 377 of the Indian Penal Code in 2018.
The antiquated concepts of Indian society have been challenged in a number of court decisions. Certain societal facts, on the other hand, remain unaccepted and are viewed through the prism of patriarchal morality.One among the classic examples for the same is Live in relationships.Following two contentious decisions by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in May 2021, the topic gained attention. First, the Court declined to give protection to couples cohabiting in a live-in relationship in Gulzar Kumari v. State of Punjab and Ujjawal v. State of Haryana, noting that such partnerships are morally and socially undesirable, capable of undermining the social fabric of Indian society.
Thankfully, the Punjab and Haryana High Court, in a different case, stated that the freedom to choose whether to marry or engage in a non-formal manner of live-in partnerships is inherent in the right to life and personal liberty, just days following these judgments.
MAINTENANCE FOR A WOMAN IN LIVE IN RELATIONSHIP:
Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. gives you the right to maintenance.Palimony is a phrase that is often used to describe upkeep in live-in relationships. The right to maintenance is covered under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. in India. This law, which was established to help ‘destitute’ spouses, helpless minor children, and infirm parents attain social justice, is now applicable to the impoverished partner of live-in partnerships.Women who were in a live-in relationship and were later abandoned by their spouse have the legal status of a wife, according to the present legal situation.
The Supreme Court overturned an earlier decision in Chanmuniya v. Virendra Kushwaha, upholding a woman in a live-in relationship’s entitlement to maintenance under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. The argument for granting such a privilege to a woman in a live-in relationship is to guarantee that a male does not take advantage of legal loopholes by enjoying the advantages of a de facto marriage while failing to meet the marriage’s duties.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court stated in Kamala v. Mohan Kumar that the term “wife” should be given a purposive construction to promote the ideals of social justice and preserve the right to dignity of persons inherent in the Constitution. Long cohabitation between the woman and the man resulted in the presumption of marriage, and the Court decided that the woman was entitled to support for herself and their children.
As a result, the legal stance is that a woman in a live-in relationship has a claim to maintenance equivalent to that of lawfully married women.