It is righteously said that the only thing that will happen as days, weeks, months, and years go by and time passes is that the society will witness a change in its eating, lifestyle, fashion and even cohabiting habits. These habits, the rates at which these habits change, and also whether or not these changing habits are accepted or rejected by the population vary from generation to generation but the constant element highlighted is the witnessing of change and rather not similarity over the time by the society.
As our traditional Indian culture is witnessing a change along with the whole world and is shifting towards the modernized culture and is almost on the verge of being called a developed country, there are certain affairs which are rather not accepted by the society and move towards being a motion concerning facing criticism and sometimes also a topic involving a majority of arguments thus making the motion very sensitive to a specific category of the population. There has been a glimpse of change in the urban areas in India with regards to the living and cohabiting lifestyle of mainly the unmarried pairs or couples, one such newborn change which can be seen is the un-married couples or pairs residing in Live-in Relationships which is duplicate to the structure of marriage the only difference is the existence of the marital status. Live-in relationships have been a motion that has been subjected to assessment and critique reviews constantly degrading its respectability and trustworthiness among the community.
The logic for most of the un-married couples cohabiting and residing in Live-in relationships is that the pair would know each other’s qualities and weaknesses before getting married and therefore it would be easier for them to formulate the decision of marriage, this practice has resulted in cheapening in the character of the individuals residing in the relationships because it is observed over a large scale that even in urban areas the society is not accepting couples who reside in Live-ins and rather resulting in questioning and criticizing the personal character of the pair.
There have been several instances where this particular motion has been discussed upon by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and High Courts of the country making it a more debatable topic and also open to any sorts of criticism by and among the community of India. This particular article not only cites and comments on the landmark cases discussed by the respected courts but also provide highlights for the reasons of Live-in relationships facing social criticism.
Live-In- Relationships: Its Emergence and Societal Critique
Live-in Relationships have been levied to arguments in abundance which has paved the way for its criticism in the Indian community and culture making it a targetable affair for debates. There have been a reported number of ways and cases in which the couples who have the desire to reside in Live-in relationships and get to know their partners more efficiently have harnessed this sort of lifestyle in the developed foreign countries but these ways have not been successful in our motherland.
The rationalism behind the un-married harnessing this sort of lifestyle can be listed as:
- The prospect to know more about, explore new things about one’s partner, and getting aware of their strengths and weaknesses.
- After residing in a Live-in, a couple can choose marriage solely based on their experience of staying or co-habiting together.
- There is no compulsion of marriage which is an advantage
- Compatibility issues of the un-married pair could be checked upon because the structure of Live-in Relationships resembles and matches the lifestyle and living structure of marriage.
However, the famous quote given by a famous philosopher “Everything visible has a flip side, like a coin”, throws light on Live-in relationships having its disadvantages. They are:
- Live-in Relationships do feature marriage in some way, but at the same time the pairs residing sometimes have to face several issues of financial, biological, and sensitive nature.
- An important aspect of a Live-in relationship can be the lack of commitment and the couple is allowed to move out and break out of the relationship at any desirable time which in some cases leads to emotional agony and suffering.
- As the Indian culture is shifting towards modernization and addition in its culture, the Indian thinking is not developed, at this particular period, to such a breadth that it can understand the depth of Live-in relationships and the logic behind it.
- The fundamental aspect is that the respectability and morality that exists in a marriage is indeed absent.
Legality of Live-in Relationships
There have been numerous decisions and cases where the Hon’ble Supreme Court and High Courts of India have exchanged views on the legitimacy from legal as well as societal prospect of residing and living in a Live-in Relationship.
In the case of Badri Prasad vs. Dy. Director of Consolidation situating to be the first case in the Indian Court’s history to ever to not only recognize Live-in relationships but also arrayed as a valid legal form of marriage. In this case the court gave legitimacy to a 50-year live-in relationship of a pair.
In the landmark judgment of S. Khushboo vs. Kannaimmal and Anr in this case the Hon’ble Supreme Court dropped all the charges against the South Indian actress who was charged under Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code and also claimed that the petitioner encouraged pre-marital sex and live-in relationships. The court acquitted the petitioner of all the charges and held that even though it might be against the societal norms to live together in a live-in relationship but it is not against or violative of the law to live together in the same house and that living together is a right to live and cannot be declared as illegal or illegitimate by any authority.
In the landmark judgment of the case Indra Sarma VS. K.V. Sarma the Hon’ble Court identified the various relationships existing in the ambit of Live-in relationships and stated that the only statute which specifically talks and recognizes Live-in Relationships is the Section 2(f) of the Protection of Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
As observed in the above-stated guidelines given by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the High Courts of India which directs that the society will not vote on the decision of a pair to reside in a Live-in relationship and even if it continues to do so, the pair is not bound to be affected by the decision of the society because a rise in divorce cases has been observed as time has passed and comparing this specific condition with the more matured and refined countries like the United States of America it has been observed that this Live-in trend has surprisingly lead to a recession in the divorce cases over the time. However, in India, the statutes are still on the verge of being called flawless and it is the need of the hour to specifically and generally recognize Live-in relationships as a new lifestyle growing among the youth.