Live-in Relationship refers to couples who live together without marriage. A live-in relationship, also known as cohabitation in some countries, is an arrangement when two adults above the age of 18 years, involved in a romantic and sexual relationship as partners for a long term or permanently, decide to live together without marriage. Unlike marriage, a live-in relationship has no legal implications.
Kamini Devi v. State of UP, W.P.(C) No.: 11108 of 2020; Paramjit Kaur v. State of Punjab, W.P. (Cri) No.: 5024 of 2020Various High Courts in cases have granted police protection to a live-in couple, upholding their fundamental right to life and personal liberty as envisaged under Article 21 of the Constitution of India
However, it must be noted that the provisions of the Act do not cover all live-in relationships. In this regard, the Court reaffirmed the tests of
(i) holding out to society as being akin to spouses
(ii) being of legal age,
(iii) otherwise qualified to enter into a legal marriage,
(iv) voluntarily cohabited for a significant period, laid down in Velusamy v. Patchaiammal.
Additionally, the Court in Indra Sharma also laid down certain factors that need consideration while determining whether a live-in relationship falls within the expression ‘relationship in the nature of marriage’ under the Act, namely, duration of the period of relationship, shared household, pooling of resources and financial arrangements, domestic arrangements, sexual relationship, children, companionship, socialisation in public and intention and conduct of parties.