marriage, a legal and social union, usually between a man and a woman, governed by laws, rules, customs, beliefs, and attitudes that determine the rights and duties of partners and provide status to their offspring (if any). … See also the article General Marriage.)
Live-in relationship between consenting adults is not considered illegal under the Indian law. In 2006, in the case of “Lata Singh v. State of U.P,” it was held that a live-in relationship between two consenting adults of opposite sex, though perceived as immoral, does not amount to any offence under the law.1 In another important case “Khushboo vs Kanaimmal and another,” the Supreme Court observed “Though the concept of live-in relationship is considered immoral by the society, but is definitely not illegal in the eyes of the law. Living together is a right to life and therefore it cannot be held illegal.
It is pertinent to note here that the Sections 494 and 495 of the IPC prohibits any marriage of person within the lifetime of her/his husband or wife and even makes it a punishable offence, unless it is permitted by the personal law of the concerned person. Therefore, a live-in relationship of a married man with a woman or of a married woman with a man cannot be recognized as in the “nature of marriage” as it is expressly prohibited by law. However, children born out of such relationship, though not regarded as legitimate, would have all the rights within the parameters as described below.
Marriage in India is an institution that is ritually and socially accepted. Basically, it is a contract between the partners that imposes rights, duties and legal obligation towards each other. Because of the diverse culture in India, different laws have been formulated, that lays down the guideline and the procedure to execute marriages in different religions. Not every marriage is bliss. In order to deal with the disputes arises in marriages between the partners, marriage laws has been created in different religions.
Along with the laws related to maintenance under personal laws, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, section 125, also shields the wife with maintenance if she cannot maintain herself.
All the personal laws in India protect their women by offering the right to maintenance to them. But, unfortunately, none of the religions accepts and recognises a live-in relationship. Hence it is the Indian courts that worked on a remedy to this problem by widening up the scope of maintenance under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Section 125 of the act offers a legal right to maintenance to the female partner both in and out of marriage.
Live-in-relationships have become part and parcel of life and stand approved by the Hon’ble Apex Court. Live-in relationship is required to be viewed through the lens of personal autonomy arising out of the right to live guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, rather than notions of social morality.”