In Living Relationship : With shifting societal dynamics and evolving relationship norms, alternative forms of companionship are gaining acceptance worldwide. In India, one such arrangement that has gained attention is “in living relationship.”
Understanding In Living Relationship:
An in living relationship, often referred to as cohabitation, is an arrangement where two individuals choose to live together and share a domestic life without entering into a formal marriage or a registered partnership. It is based on mutual consent, understanding, and companionship, allowing couples to explore a committed relationship while maintaining legal independence.
Legal Status of In Living Relationship in India:
In India, there is no specific legislation that exclusively governs or recognizes in living relationship. The legal framework primarily revolves around existing laws and judicial interpretations. However, it is crucial to note that courts in India have recognized and acknowledged the validity of such relationships, extending certain rights and protections to the individuals involved.
Domestic Violence Protection: The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, offers legal recourse to women in “in living relationship” who face domestic violence. The act provides protection orders, residence orders, monetary relief, and other remedies to ensure the safety and well-being of women in such relationships.
Maintenance Rights: Courts have recognized the right of maintenance for partners in long-term live-in relationships under the provisions of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956. This applies to couples who fall within the definition of a “relationship in the nature of marriage,” considering factors such as duration of cohabitation, mutual consent, and holding themselves out as spouses.
Property Rights: While there is no specific legislation governing property rights in in living relationships, courts have ruled that partners in such relationships can claim a share in jointly owned property or seek compensation for contributions made to the acquisition or improvement of property. The rights, however, may vary depending on the circumstances and evidence provided.
Challenges and Considerations of In Living Relationship:
Despite the legal recognition and protections available, there are several challenges and considerations individuals should be aware of in the context of in living relationships in India:
Lack of Uniformity: The legal framework regarding in living relationships in India is not uniform across the country. Different High Courts have varying interpretations and criteria for determining the duration and nature of relationships that qualify for legal protections.
Proof and Evidence: Establishing the existence of a live-in relationship may require substantial evidence, including cohabitation, financial interdependence, social recognition, and mutual commitment. Gathering such evidence may pose challenges in certain situations.
Social and Family Acceptance: In Indian society, traditional norms and conservative attitudes towards relationships may lead to social stigma, disapproval, and family resistance for couples in in living relationships. It is essential to be prepared for potential societal challenges.
In living relationships are not explicitly regulated under specific legislation in India. However, courts have recognized the validity of such relationships and have extended certain rights and protections to individuals involved, particularly in cases of domestic violence, maintenance, and property disputes.
It is advisable for individuals considering or currently in an in living relationship to understand the legal nuances, seek legal advice, and establish clear agreements to protect their rights and interests.
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