Analysis of Property Rights Concerning Live-in Relationships​?​

Aritra Sarkar and Harika Tejavath
National Law University Odisha, Cuttack, India.

Volume III, Issue VI, 2020

Live-in relationships are not very common in India especially due to the social taboo that is ingrained with it. However, due to modernization and adoption of western culture is we can see more and more people opting for live-in over marriage. As the cases of live-in increase, so do the issues related to it. So, it becomes important for the courts and the legislature to take up the matter impartial from any traditional social opinion.

The courts have decided that couples living in live-in relationships will be presumed legally married provided it is not a walk-in-walk-out relationship. The law held that live-in relationships are legally valid and the partners enjoy all kinds of rights which the married couple does. For example, the right to maintenance, property rights, etc.

The supreme court in the case of Dhannulal v. Ganeshram (2015), decided that a woman in a live-in relationship would be eligible to inherit the property after the death of her property. Further, it was held in the case of S.P.S. Balasubramanyam v. Suruttayan (1994) that, “if a man and woman are living under the same roof and cohabiting for some years, there will be presumption under section 114 of Indian Evidence Act, 1872, that they live as husband and wife and the children born to them will not be illegitimate.”

It was decided in the case of Revanasiddappa v. Mallikarjun (2011), that the child born out of such a relationship is innocent and is entitled to all the rights and privileges available to children born out of wedlock. This is the crux of section 16(3) of the amended Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Observing these cases, the topic aims at analyzing the rights which a partner in, as well as the child/children out of a live-in relationship, holds upon the property.