Posted on: December 22, 2020 Posted by: admin Comments: 0

Author: Joyita Ghosh, Student at KIIT School of Law, Bhubaneswar, Odisha.


Humans are social creatures and they connect with other humans for survival. And that is how they form a relationship with one another. There are many types of relationships among them – father-mother, father-son, husband-wife, etc. here we are particularly going to talk about live-in relationships which are defined by the type of relationship which binds both the partners who lie together without the institution of marriage and enjoy their rights and freedom. In this, there is no such law binding both of them and either partner has the free will to move out anytime they want without any law going after them. This basically can be termed as cohabitation without any responsibility and accountability towards each other, no-fault if another partner chooses to leave. So, with this, no liability comes another problem. The status of the child born out of this relationship. It was never been clarified by the court fully.

Although in the instance of Tulsa and Ors. v Durghatiya and Ors.[1] the SC observed that the child conceived out of living together aren’t to be treated as illegitimate but rather there are sure some conditions are given: the guardians should have lived together long enough in a house and so the general public considers them as a couple. In different cases that if a male and a female decide to live together for a significant amount then it would be attempted as legitimately wedded except if proven otherwise. In this way, in India, there’s an earnest requirement for enactment on this.

India has always been a bit conservative. It has always favored traditions and values, religion more than the other things. Maybe that’s the reason why it is still considering the live-in relationship a taboo and that’s why it has not gained as much recognition as it should have. It is yet to come out of the closet and since marriage was considered the formation of the foundation of the society, this casual arrangement of live-in relationship is by all accounts testing the essential fundamentals of the marriage as a holy organization

In the 2008 National commission for women’s report[2], it was mentioned that the females in this type of relationship should be provided with privileges under section 123 CrPC[3], 1973. For example, countries like China, Canada, Philippines had already given legal status to the live-in relationships, where the contract is made by just registering themselves. In India, although it has not gained any social and legal status it is not made illegal as well. This situation is regarded and necessary in a country like India so that someone cant misuse the relationship and acquire an advantage when one suffers.


In Earlier days, two persons living under one roof without the institution of marriage had been considered although immoral yet it was prevalent. Concubines were especially kept for men for pleasure and entertainment. Since independence, with maturing society the bigamy was outlawed. Slowly women gained their freedom as they started learning about their rights. The outlook of the people had changed not fully ut partially in this matter. In the cases of Lata Singh v State of UP[4], the court has recognized the relationship of unmarried couples with respect and in S. Khushboo v Kanniammal[5], it was stated that a man and a woman can live together without the institution of marriage. India has recently been witnessing a drastic change as the young generation now views the relationships and the taboo has been starting to fade out along with the concepts like pre-marital sex. This has resulted from the mind which has experienced freedom, privacy, and education. People started to take it as a chance to be acquainted with the significant other without having to involve in a lawfully obligatory bond such as marriage and lengthy court process in case things don’t work-out.


Nowadays, live-in parents are more visible than 10 years back due to the increase in pay-scale and income across groups. Research shows that children born out of wedlock usually have a greater danger of having poor social and emotional development than children born to married couples. The latter show higher cognitive development as well. Research shows that the relato=ionship of live-in couples usually last 3-5 years with even having a very little chance of them turning into marriage. And if married there is a quite high risk of divorce.

The human rights of the children born out of this relationship can be studied under the following categories:

  1. Legitimacy
  2. Preservation of the child
  3. Property to right
  4. Custody of children

There have been lots of debates about whether marriage is a  good choice rather than going for a live-in for the upbringing of the child, it remains unsettled. In Badri Prasad v Dy Director of Consolidation[6], the first-ever SC case dealt with live-in couples declared and holds legal the 50-year olf relationship between two individuals. In 2010, SC had also provided some precision to several of that type. They were granted Fundamental rights under Article 21[7].

 For instance, on account of Khushboo v Kanniammal & Anr[8], the criminal pleas had been recorded in contrast to the woman since she involved in premarital-sex and living together. At that point the SC having subdued it by explaining by what means this might be unlawful when two agreeing grown-ups included and thus by the explanation, it isn’t unlawful. It was also cited the case of Radha and Krishna on the side of the verdict set. Another situation, in A. Dinohamy v W.L Blahamy[9], the Privy Council announced that the minute it is demonstrated two people (male and female) are staying cheerfully like a husband and spouse then the commandment will assume that they were living in the result of substantial matrimony except proved otherwise.

It is additionally significant and to the greatest advantage of everybody that to keep considerate agreeable relationships with the youth’s other parent, if available and in the image. Since courts have all the forces to adjust and change the custody given. At that point, it is imperative to thusly follow the request agreed by the court. Courts can adjust the request when there have been huge variations in circumstances like-

  1. At the point when one of the guardians disregards the request given by the courts.
  2. There is proof of kid maltreatment in the home
  3. When there is proof of abusive behavior at home in the home
  4. One of the guardians isn’t in the condition to keep up the requirements and deal with the kid.
  5. At the point when the necessities are altered and the existing request of the court is appropriate in light of such changes.

To get the kid guardianship request changed one requirement to initially document an appeal with the suitable court. Yet, the strategy identified with the adjustments in the kid’s guardianship varies from state to state.

A) Legitimacy

The first and most important right of a child who had born to live-in couples. The other rights available for the child is certainly based on the factor of legitimacy. In the case of married couples, there is already a contract present which does establish certain rights and legal obligation for the couples as well as the child born to them. As per India’s existing laws, only the child born to the wedded couples are legally entitled and are accepted in the culture.

As SC stated, in the Case of SPS Balasubramanyam v Sruttayan[10] if a male and a female cohabitate and a child born to them then it would be presumed under section 114 of the Evidence Act[11] that they cohabitate as husband and wife and child will not be considered illegitimate. This happens to be the landmark case where the court stated that statue of the baby’s born to couples who stay together in simultaneousness with Article 39(f)[12] of the Indian constitution which sets out the obligation of the state to furnish the kids with sufficient occasion to create in a typical way and protect their inclinations.

Even SC in Malimath Committee report recommended to change the definition of wife in CrPC and incorporate any lady who was living with a man as his better half for an extensive stretch of time in any event when had a spouse around then fro the main marriage.

Indian Judiciary has been a significant part by giving landmark judgments, for example, if there should be an occurrence of Dimple Gupta v. Rajiv Gupta[13] where public righteousness was agreed by giving the illicit kid that had resulted from the illegal relationship was qualified for support when they are minor when major where he/she can’t look after themselves. By this, the Supreme Court had expressed that children born to live-in guardians are legitimate and have similar rights as in the event of kids from the legitimate marriage.

B) Right to Property

Property rights denote the inheriting the property from their parents. Under the Hindu Succession Act,1956[14], a lawful child forms the Class-I heirs in the family possessions, while the illegitimate child posses the possessions of his/her mother only and not the assumed dad.

Here comes the concept of legitimacy and thus it has been a topic of debate for many years. The legitimacy has been the prime factor bearing in mind the legacy privileges under Hindu Law. Courts tried to ensure that the child born out of a live-in relationship for a considerable amount of time shouldn’t be neglected and the privileges to inheritance and this process are in sync with Article 39(f) of the Indian Constitution.

Under Muslim law, there is no such provision. In a landmark case of Vidyahari V Sukhrana Bai[15], it was decided and the court settled the privileges of inheritance to the child born to live-in couples and approved his legitimate position. Many were against it.

C) Preservation of Rights

Section 21[16] of the Hindu Adoption Act, 1956  says that a child if lawful or unlawful until he is underage or so long the girl is a bachelor will be qualified for support by the father or from his family.

If in the negation of support privileges to offspring resulting from live-in, it very well may be confronted in court who has proper authority for infringement of key right under Article 21 and such kind of rejection of privileges will be made to denying the person the option to live with pride and was thus held by the Kerala High Court. There has consistently been the inconsistent treatment of children resulting from this relation and conjugal affairs even it is presently said and demonstrated by the courts that they are dealt with similarly. The kids who are resulting from this relationship are treated in the same way even after countless verdicts to not to treat them distinctively and whenever done then there would be an infringement of Article 14[17]. Along these lines, even after so numerous legal professions the privileges of kids have been and stays a subject of discussion.

D) Child’s Custody

This one of the important factors and a serious issue tackled by the parents in a live-in relationship when paralleled to the wedded couples. It is easy to get in a live-in relationship but not so easy to get out of one if in this case a child is been already born to them. There is no law and legislation concerning this issue and thus custody issues on a child born to them typically ascending at a time of parting are dealt with similarly as in the case of married couples.

In Hindu law, the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956[18] unmistakably says that in Section 6 that the father is the normal custodian of his minor legal kids as it has been set down on account of Gita Hariharan v Reserve Bank of India[19]. The mother turns into the normal custodian without the father which implies when the father isn’t equipped for going about as the guardian.

In any case, Section 6(b) of a similar act, appears to manage live-in couples as it concedes the custody rights to the mother in the event of a child conceived out of illegitimate relations.

Subsequently, an optimistic translation of the law, it very well may be inferred that on account of separation amid the live-in couples,  dad will obtain the custodial privileges of a concerned youngster.

Aside from this, there are sure acts like Guardianship and Wards Act, 1890[20] and these acts are to be scanned together and afterwards it is to be actualized in the event of a child’s case for custody. At that point, there should be the arrangement of a guardian for the minor in a legitimate way. Thus, even though there may be a situation in a live-in connection where the court gives the authority of the kid to the male accomplice, in any case, understanding should be offered in the kindness of the kid just and no one else. Under Muslim law, there is no commitment as such to keep up the youngster resulting from live-in as it is the situation under Hindu Law. The most importantly right to have the custody of the kid belongs to the mother and she can’t be denied her privileges till something conflicting is demonstrated.


It should be remembered that advances as the general public develop and although there been situations when the court provided the decision to upheld the live-in couples, there’s been an equivalent amount of decisions that have gone the inverse. Thus, the law desires to remember that there is an arising type of relationship in light of the quick movement of development in the economy and view of the modernization of culture in India. Eventually, the effect of the live-in relationship on kids should be dissected and remembered as this is the vital part.

In this way, to evade any issue in upcoming, regulations ought to be set down and changes are made to the things which are not deciphered unmistakably and are obscure in-laws. This will guarantee consistency and will assist with making sure about the eventual fate of such youngsters.


[1] Tulsa & Ors v Durghatiya & Others AIR (2008) SC 1193

[2] Annual Report 2008 – 2009 | National Commission for Women, , (last visited Dec 17, 2020).

[3] CrPC Section 123 – Power to release persons imprisoned for failing to give security, , A Lawyers Reference , (last visited Dec 17, 2020).

[4] (2006) 5 SCC 475

[5] AIR 2010 SC 3196

[6] AIR 1975 SC 1557

[7] Constitution of India, , (last visited Dec 17, 2020).

[8] AIR 2010 SC 3196

[9] 1927 AIR PC 185

[10] AIR 1992 SC 756

[11] Section 114 Indian Evidence Act | Criminal Law Review, , (last visited Dec 17, 2020).

[13] 2007 AIR SC 6651

[14] The Hindu Succession Act, 1956, , (last visited Dec 17, 2020).

[15] 2008 AIR SC 1420

[16] Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act Section 18–21 – PATHLEGAL, , (last visited Dec 17, 2020).

[17] Article 14 in The Constitution Of India 1949, 14, (last visited Dec 3, 2020).

[18] The Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956, , (last visited Dec 17, 2020).

[19] 1999 AIR SC 1149z

[20] The Guardians and Wards Act, 1890, , (last visited Dec 17, 2020).

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