Marriage is a legitimately and socially acknowledged type of relationship between couples. Social construction and bonding being more grounded in our country, the institution of marriage holds much more noteworthy significance here. Living together without marriage is viewed as untouchable and is exceptionally uncommon. Be that as it may, as of late, things are changing quickly and couples have begun living together in a single-family even without being hitched. Such a relationship might be brief or may continue for a significant timeframe. If the dwelling together continues for a delayed period, it is named a live-in relationship.

The live-in relationship can be defined as Continuous living together for a huge timeframe, between accomplices who are not hitched to one another in a legitimately satisfactory manner and are sharing a typical family.


A live-in relationship between consenting adults is not considered illegal under Indian law. In the case of Lata Singh v. State of U.P(2006),.[i]it was held that a live-in relationship between two consenting grown-ups of the other gender, however, saw as improper, doesn’t add up to any offense under the law.

In another important case,KhushboovsKanaimmal&Anr;the Supreme Court noticed “However the idea of live-in relationship is considered unethical by the general public, yet is not unlawful according to the law. Living together is a right to life and along these lines, it can’t be held illicitly.”[ii]In the event that live-in relationships continue for an extendedperiod and a few present themselves to society as spouse wives, they get perceived as being lawfully hitched.

As early as 1978, in Badri Prasad Vs Deputy Director Consolidation,the perception was made that “If man and woman who lives as a couple in the public arena are constrained to demonstrate, after 50 years of wedlock by onlooker proof that they were truly hitched fifty years sooner, hardly any will succeed. A solid assumption emerges for wedlock where the accomplices have lived together for a long spell like a couple. Albeit the assumption is rebuttable, a significant weight lies on him who tries to deny the relationship of its lawful origin. Law inclines for authenticity and frowns upon bastardy.”[iii]

The same observation was made in SPS BalasubramanianVsSuruttayan,in which it was seen that where a man and a woman live together as a couple for quite a while, the assumption under the law would be agreeable to their being lawfully hitched to one another except if demonstrated unexpectedly and children conceived out of such live-in relationship would be qualified for inheritance in the property of the guardians.[iv] In the event that such a relationship is just for sexual reasons, neither of the accomplices can guarantee the advantages of a lawful marriage.

In “IndraSarmavs VKV Sarma,”the Supreme Court was of the view that all live-in relationships are not relationships in the idea of marriage. In this specific case, it was tracked down that the appealing party, having been completely mindful of the way that the respondent was a hitched individual, couldn’t have gone into a live-in relationship in the idea of marriage, since it has no inherent or fundamental attribute of a marriage, yet a relationship other than in the idea of marriage.[v]The Court additionally mentioned the following objective facts for this situation.

  • Such relationships might suffer for quite a while and can bring about an example of reliance and weakness, and an increasing number of such relationships calls for satisfactory and successful security, particularly to the woman and children conceived out of that live-in-relationship.
  • Legislature can’t advance early sex, however, on occasion, such relationships are intensively close to home and individuals might offer their viewpoint, for and against.
  • Thus, the Parliament needs to consider these issues, bring in appropriate enactment, or make a legitimate correction of the Act, so women and the children conceived out of such kinds of relationships are secured, however, such relationship probably won’t be a relationship in the idea of marriage.
  • It is pertinent to note here that Sections 494 and 495 of the IPC restrict any marriage of an individual within the lifetime of her/his significant other or spouse and even makes it a culpable offense except if it is allowed by the individual law of the concerned individual. Along these lines, a live-in relationship of a wedded man with a woman or of a wedded woman with a man can’t be perceived as in the “nature of marriage” as it is explicitly denied by law. Nonetheless, children conceived out of such a relationship, however not viewed as legitimate, would include every one of the rights inside the boundaries as portrayed beneath.

Before 2018, homegrown dwelling together of a wedded or unmarried man with a wedded woman established a criminal offense of “adultery,” yet for the man just, under Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

But this section was annulled by the Supreme Court of India in the case of Joseph Shine vs Union of India in September 2018, as the Court came to the conclusion that it was violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. The segment treated people inconsistent as just the man and not the woman who is dependent upon arraignment for infidelity. Besides, it was just the spouse of the concerned woman who could indict the one who was involved in the demonstration and the woman can’t arraign her better half for adultery.[vi]However adultery is presently not a criminal offense, the issue of living together with any wedded man or woman might involve common issues constituting a ground of separation, wherein case it would be sexually unbiased.


  1. Grant of Alimony and Application of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, 2005

“Palimony” is a combined type of world “pal” and “alimony.” Though the specific suit was ineffective, the courts tracked down that “without an express understanding, courts might look to an assortment of different solutions for partition property fairly.” It was seen that in case there is a living together arrangement for the couple before moving in together, the Court might think about an award of palimony. In India, the requirement for such alleviation was felt by the Malimath Committee on Criminal Justice which suggested revision in the definition of “spouse” in Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr. P.C.) to include ladies who were living with the man as his better half for a sensibly extensive period of time.[vii]

Section 2(f) of Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (PDV Act, 2005) defines a homegrown relationship as “a relationship between two people who live or have lived together, any time of time, in a common family, when they are connected by consanguinity, marriage, or through a relationship in the idea of marriage, reception or are relatives living all together with family.” According to this definition, live-in relationships which are in the idea of marriage, that is, the couples are living for an extensive time period and present themselves as husband and spouse go under the ambit of the PDV Act, 2005. Consequently, the woman in a live-in relationship can take security under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and can guarantee maintenance moreover (D. Velusamyvs D. Patchaiammal).[viii]The question of application of the PDV Act, 2005 to the live-in relationships came into the consideration of the Supreme Court in the case of “LalitaToppovsthe State of Jharkhand.”It was held that the person in question, that is, the alienated spouse or the live-in accomplice would be entitled to help under the Act in a common family.[ix]

While referring to this report in Ajay Bhardwaj vs Jyotsna, the court awarded alimony under the PDV Act, 2005 to a woman in a live-in relationship[x].In any case, just the woman can guarantee maintenance under the PDV Act, 2005. Help under the PDV Act, 2005 isn’t accessible to men in live-in relationships. In this association, it is pertinent to refer to that for the case of Khushboo versus Kanniamalthe Court saw that “a live-in relationship is invariably initiated and propagated by men.

Rights of Children Born Out of Live-In Relationship

In Tulsa vsDurghatiya,[xi]the Supreme Court, while granting the right of property to a child, seeing that children brought into the world from the live-in relationship would not be treated as illegitimate if their folks could have lived under one rooftop and lived together for a significantly extensive period to be perceived as a couple and it should not be a “stroll in and leave” relationship. Area 16 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and Section 26 of the Special Marriage Act, present authenticity to children conceived out of the void and voidable relationships by providing that children conceived out of marriage, which is invalid and void or where a declaration of nullity is allowed in regard of voidable marriage, will be legitimate or considered to be legitimate, individually.

Yet, according to Subsection (3) of similar segments of the Act, the right of inheritance of such children is restricted to the property of the guardians as it were. Consequently, such children don’t have the coparcenary rights in the property of the Hindu unified family (HUF) if their folks did not legitimately marry one another. Accordingly, the arrangements of these segments of the Act have been applied to give a right of inheritance to the children conceived out of live-in relationships in oneself obtained property of the guardians. However, on the off chance that their folks are not lawfully hitched to one another, they can’t guarantee the coparcenary rights in the property of the HUF of their dad. Claiming maintenance under Section 125 of the Cr. P.C is well within the privileges of ward children conceived out of the live-in relationships, as the actual segment explicitly refers to “both legitimate and illegitimate kid.” In the question of deciding for guardianship, the mother is viewed as the normal gatekeeper for such children.


Live-in relationships give couples a more noteworthy chance to know one another better along with the opportunity to cut off the friendship according to their desire. However, they need to confront numerous social and lawful obstacles. The Supreme Court has given guidelines for regulating such relationships and for protecting the privileges of ladies involved in the relationship and kids conceived out of it, which has been depicted previously. Social qualities and standards have changed for the new age. The live-in relationship might be alright in certain conditions yet the significance of the institution of marriage for maintaining the social request can’t be denied.

This article is edited by Dhruv Kapoor, FIMT, affiliated to GGSIPU.

[i]Lata Singh vs State of U.P. & Another (AIR 2006 SC 2522) . Indian Kanoon website. 2006.

[ii] Khushboo vs Kanaimmal and another in 2010 (5 SCC 600 2010) . Indian Kanoon website. 2010.

[iii] Badri Prasad vs Deputy Director, Consolidation and other. (AIR 1978 SC 1557) . Indian Kanoon website. 1978.

[iv] SPS Balasubramanyam vs Suruttayan (AIR 1992 SC 756) . Indian Kanoon website. 1993.

[v] Indra Sarma vs VKV Sarma (15 SCC 755) . 2013.

[vi] Joseph Shine vs Union of India (SCC Online 1676) . 2018.


[viii] D. Velusamy vs. D. Patchaiammal (10 SCC 469) . 2010.

[ix] Lalita Toppo vs State of Jharkhand . Indian Kanoon website.

[x]Ajay Bhardwaj vs Jyotsna (SCC Online P&H 9707) . Indian Kanoon website.

[xi] Tulsa & others vs Durghatiya and others ((4) SCC 520) .


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