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- Busam Pushyami

Introduction A live-in relationship is a practice where two persons co-habit without any marital relationship between them with a belief that they will understand each other better. Live in Relations are basically against the practices and morals followed in Indian society. However, with the evolution of the thought process of the youth in different perspectives, live-in relationships can be seen nowadays in the Indian society.

In Badri Prasad vs Dy. Director of Consolidation and Ors[1] case, 1978, the Supreme Court recognized live-in relationships for the first time with a pre-condition that the couple should satisfy all conditions of marriage like age, consent, mental soundness etc. One notable observation was made by the Rajasthan High Court by referring the pre-condition mentioned in D Velusamy v. D Patchaiammal[2] case that the couple must be unmarried and said that the live-in relationship between married and unmarried person is not permissible.

Live in relationships have gradually penetrated the Indian Society irrespective of whether the parents consent to it. However, views on such relationships differ from each state to state.

Recently, in the case of Kamini Devi v. State of Uttar Pradesh[3], the Allahabad High Court ruled that two consenting adults in live in relationship have the liberty and no other, including their parents, can interfere in their peaceful living. The same view can be observed in the Rajasthan High Court's ruling that provided police protection to couple in live-in relationship. Dissenting views towards this live-in relationship can also be observed through the denial to provide protection to the couple while dissenting on the ground as, “unholy alliance”, “mere claim of two adults living together for few days is not sufficient to attach legitimacy to live-in relationship’ etc. Different benches of the same High Courts that consented have also differed in views disapproving the live-in relationships.

Status of Child born out of live-in relationship

The Supreme Court in Tulsa & Ors v. Durghatiya & Ors[4] observed that if a couple has been living under a roof for a considerable period of time and the society recognizes them as wife and husband then the child born out of the cohabitation between couple in live-in relationships will be considered as legitimate. The court stated that though such relationships are viewed as morally wrong in India, they are not illegal. In SPS Balasubramanyam v. Sruttayan[5], court applied the presumption under section 114 of the Indian Evidence Act, that couples living under one roof for years are recognized as wife and husband and the child born to them is not illegitimate.

In Dimple Gupta v. Rajiv Gupta[6], the court observed that even the child born out of illicit relationship is entitled to maintenance till 18 years of age. In Vidyadhari v. Sukhrana Bai[7], the court recognized the right of inheritance of child born out of live-in relationship.


With the increase in recognition of live-in relationships in India, the crimes pertaining to it also increases gradually. Proper legal protection must be provided to such persons. The court observed that such relationships fall under the ambit of Section 2(f) of the Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act, 2005. The courts in various instances preferred the welfare of child born out of live-in-relationships and ruled accordingly. There isn’t complete acceptance of live-in relationships in India with its vast diversification. Lots of debate pertaining to it is going on in the country.

[1] 1978 SCC (3) 527 [2] AIR 2011 SC 479 [3] Writ C No. 11108 of 2020, decided on 23-11-2020. [4] Civil Appeal No. 648 of 2002 [5] 1994 SCC (1) 460 [6] Criminal Appeal No. 1139 of 2002 [7] SLP (C) No.6758 of 2007

Author's Information

Busam Pushyami,

a law student from School of Law,

Sastra University, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu.


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