Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cohabitation in India


Many people imagine that living together before marriage resembles taking a car for a test drive.
India is still looked by the world as a nation where marriage occupies a sacramental position both philosophically and practically. The phrase ‘common law wife’ was used to denote legal rights as that of a wife enjoyed by a woman living with a man without marriage. The change in the life styles towards western style has definitely brought the need of ‘common law wife’ in India as well. By recognizing a woman who has not entered into the matrimony with rights of wife, whether we would do some harm to society? Live-in-relationships are not new in our  society. The only difference is that now people have become open about it. Formally they were known as “maitray karars” in which people of two opposite sex would enter into a written agreement to be friends, live together and look after each other. A change is visible in our society from arranged marriages to love marriages and now to ‘live-in-relationships’. If an analysis is made of need of such relationships, avoiding responsibility would emerge as the prime reason. The lack of commitment, the disrespect of social bonds and the lack of tolerance in relationships have given rise to alternative to marriages.
The very nature of the closeness allows a couple to provide with feedback so that they may recognize and modify relationship-defeating behaviours. It contains an element of convenience.” No relationship can ever be equated with a relationship as eternal as marriage. Hence the option of live-in-relationships may seem attractive but the real side may not be that fancy. They may be practically possible but their success in life which some day requires a life-long companion is definitely dull.

A good example of it is the movie Salam Namaste and the serial Bade Ache Lagte hai the character Ayesha Sharma Priya’s sister was in live in relation with priyas brother in law.

Provisions with regard to live-in-relationships

Outside India
The law introduced in 1999 in France makes provisions for “civil solidarity pacts” allowing  couples (even of same sex) to enter into a union and be allowed to the same rights as married couples in such areas as income tax, inheritance, housing and social welfare. Couples, who want to enter into such a relationship may sign up before a court clerk and can revoke the contract unilaterally or by bilaterally with a simple declaration, made in writing, which gives the partner three months’ notice.
In India
No law at present deal with the concept of live-in-relationships and their legality. Still even in the absence of a specific legislation on the subject, it is praise-worthy that under The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, all benefits are bestowed on woman living in such kind of
arrangement by reason of being covered within the term “domestic relationship”  under Section 2(f). If we propose to enact a law to regulate live-in-relationships, though it would grant rights to parties to it but at the same time it would also impose obligations on them.

Couples prefer to choose it only to have no responsibility of any sort, but if it is guided by some law, then it would not be so readily preferred. To consider of enacting a law on the lines of provisions in other countries 

may not be successful as their relationships are granted sanction mainly to legalize gay relationship. In India, since it would not be socially permissible to have relationship between persons of same sex, the law enacted for them by the countries cannot act as guiding force.
The last two to three months have been influential in arousing response on the matter of live-in-relationships in India. It should not be denied that our culture does need a legislature to regulate relationships which are likely to grow in number with changes in the ideology of people.


  1. great info about live in realationship and about the law

  2. wow very really good .

  3. Really nice info. interesting view about relationships and legislation.