live-in relationship in India
live-in relationship in India

Live-in Relationship in India: Legitimacy Under Indian Law


Live-in relationship is an arrangement in which an unmarried couple lives together in a long-term relationship that resembles a marriage.

Recently, in first week of May, a women, who is an NRI, named Ritu has alleged that Rashmi Pawar, who is a former NSUI, president, has been in live in relationship with her husband. They have 2 children born out of their relationship. Now, there is allegation by Ritu that Rashmi is threatening her to leave his husband and the country.


  1. Types of Live-in relationship:

The court in Indra Sarmav. V.K.V. Sarma has recognized 5 types of Live-in relationship. These are:

  • Domestic relation between an unmarried adult man and unmarried adult women
  • Domestic relation between an unmarried adult man and married women.
  • Domestic relation between a married man and unmarried adult women.
  • Domestic relation between a married man and married women.
  • Domestic relation between two persons of same sex.


  1. Section 2 (f) of Domestic Violence Act, 2005:

Domestic Violence Act, 2005 attempts to protect women from abusive partners and family. As per Section 2 (f) of the Act, the act not only applies to a married couple, but also to a ‘relationship in nature of marriage’. This has been affirmed in D. Velusamy v. D. Patchaiammal and in Indra Sarmav. V.K.V. Sarma. Also, held in Chanmuniya v. Virendra Kumar Kushwaha. A woman under this section can file for any abuse faced by her, whether mental or physical. Abuse involves even verbal or economic abuse. Hence the section is wide enough to incorporate all kinds of abuse applying to both married couple, and to a ‘relationship in nature of marriage’.


III. What includes ‘relationship in nature of marriage’: Extending Scope of Live-in relationship:

As per Indra Sarmav. V.K.V. Sarma, relationship in nature of marriage’  shall be based on the following guidelines like Duration of period of period of relationship, Pooling of Resources and Financial Arrangements, Sexual Relationship, Domestic Arrangements, Children, intention and conduct of the parties, etc.

S.P.S. Balasubramanyam v. Suruttayan, the court held that the living under the same roof for years, is a presumption to a marriage according to Section 114 of the Indian Evidence Act. Also, the Children born will not be illegitimate and will be considered legitimate children. They are also eligible to inherit properties of their parents.

Also, in Adan Mohan Singh v. Ranji kant, the apex court held that live-in relation for a number of years does amount to presumption of marriage.

In D. Velusamy v.D. Patchaiammal,

Court held that such relations can be held as marriage if:

  • The couple should hold themselves out to society as being akin to spouses.
  • They must have legal age to marry.
  • They must be enter into a legal marriage, including being unmarried.
  • They must have lived as husband and wife.


Court, in Alok Kumar v. State & Anr. considered live-in marriage as a Contract of living together where one can easily walk in and out of it.


Legality in India: Valid.

Also recognized by Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and in Section 114 of Indian Evidence Act.


  Children born out of the wedlock:

Child out of a prolonged relationship is legitimate (S.P.S. Balasubramanyam v. Suruttayan,

Also, in Madan Mohan Singh & Ors v. Rajni Kant & Anr.,the Court held child born out of such relations is a legitimate child.

Further, as in Bharata Matha & Ors v. R. Vijaya Renganathan & Ors. the court held child born out of such relations will succeed properties of their parents.


  1. Maintenance to Women

As per Section 125 of the CrPC, a women is entitled to claim maintenance, even though there is a live-in relationship. This has been affirmed in in Abhijit Bhikaseth Auti v. State Of Maharashtra and Others.


VII. Rights:

No law as such, but,

  • Children born out of such relationships shall be maintained by both the parents and
  • Children can succeed in inheritance of property of the parents.
  • Children born are legitimate children and also in accordance with
  • Right of Maintenance to Women in Live-in Relationships: as according to Domestic Violence Act 2005
  • Right of Maintenance to Women in Live-in Relationships: as according to Section 125 of the CrPC.
  • Partners do not inherit each other’s properties.
  • Partners can not adopt children. This has been well established in Guidelines Governing the Adoption of Children, 2011.
  • Domestic Violence Act also includes live-in relationships.
  • Indian courts also tend to consider it like marriages with application of maintenance laws.


Thus rights to inherit have been granted to children out of a live-in relationship, with respect to both ancestral and self-acquired property. [Parayankandiyal Eravath Kanapravan Kalliani Amma vs K.Devi 1996 SCC (4)76]




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