Is Living Relationship allowed in India? Here’s what the law says

Is Living Relationship allowed in India:- A live-in relationship, also known as cohabitation in some countries, is one in which two individuals who have been romantically and sexually connected as partners for a significant amount of time or permanently choose to live together without getting married. It is crucial to understand the expectations and responsibilities that come with a live-in relationship now that it is legal in India.

In fact, India has seen a significant shift in how the current generation views partnerships. The taboo that used to surround live-in relationships has started to disappear as society becomes more accepting of them. The right to freedom, privacy, professionalism, globalisation, and education have all contributed to this over time. Additionally, it is not a way to avoid your obligations.

Legality of Living relationship:- (Is Living Relationship allowed in India)

Living together as partners without getting married is not prohibited or a crime, according to the Supreme Court of India. Although they do not have the same legal protections as married couples, live-in partners are nonetheless entitled to some legal protection under specific statutes. To defend the rights of those involved in such partnerships, it is crucial in this situation to grasp the legal system in India that oversees live-in relationships.

Partners in a live-in relationship do not share the same legal rights as married partners. For instance, partners in a live-in relationship are not entitled to each other’s inheritance or maintenance in the event of a breakup.

Indra Sarma v. V.K.V. Sharma, the Supreme Court ruled that “Live-in relationships like marriage are neither a crime nor a sin, though socially unacceptable in this country.” In other words, it is permitted.

In the 1978 decision of Badri Prasad v. Dy. Director of Consolidation, the Supreme Court made the first official recognition of live-in partnerships as legal. The Court ruled that as long as the conditions for marriage, including the legal marriageable age, consent, and soundness of mind, are satisfied, a live-in relationship between consenting adults is permissible under Indian law. No law authorises or prohibits such relationships.

Protection from Domestic Violence in Living Relationship:

Women in live-in relationships who experience domestic violence are protected by the Domestic Violence Act of 2005. The Act defines a domestic partnership as one in which the two people share a home and are engaged in a union-like connection.

In light of this, a woman in a live-in relationship may seek protection from the court under the Domestic Violence Act.

Despite the fact that live-in partnerships are not regarded as marriages by Indian law, the Supreme Court of India ruled in 2015 that a woman who has been in a live-in relationship for a considerable amount of time should be entitled to maintenance from her spouse after separation.

It is recommended that live-in partners have a written agreement defining their individual rights and obligations, as well as the financial arrangements to be made in the event of a breakup. In the absence of any legal acknowledgment of their relationship under Indian law, this can offer both partners some legal protection.

Guidelines for Recognising Live-In Relationships from the Supreme Court

In S Khushboo vs. Kanniammal & Anr (2010), the Supreme Court stated the following guidelines to recognise a live-in relationship:

  • The pair must present themselves to the public as being comparable to spouses.
  • To get married, they must be of legal age.
  • They must also meet all other requirements for a valid marriage, including being single.
  • They had to have lived together voluntarily and pretended to be spouses to the outside world for a considerable amount of time.

Certain Exceptions:-

A guy cannot be considered to be in a domestic relationship if he spends the night out with a woman and engages in sexual activity or if he stays with someone while on vacation for a few days. Additionally, according to the Supreme Court, a partnership in which a man has a “keep,” “mistress,” or “rakhail” that he financially supports and simply uses for sexual purposes (or as a servant, or both), is not a marriage.

Avoiding abuse of live-in women’s children and Women:-  

Partner’s female partner’s maintenance

By granting them the right to maintenance, all personal laws in India provide protection for their female citizens. A live-in relationship is, regrettably, not accepted or recognised by any of the major religions. As a result, the Indian courts tried to find a solution to this issue by expanding the definition of maintenance under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

Both during and after marriage, the female spouse is legally entitled to maintenance under Section 125 of the act.

Violence committed against the female spouse or against any children resulting from a live-in relationship

To safeguard Indian women against abusive (mental, verbal, economic, and physical) marital relationships, the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, was put into effect. Section 2(f) of the act protects the female partner in a live-in relationship and is applicable to both married women and women who are in a “relationship in nature of marriage.”

In light of all these considerations, the Honourable Supreme Court of India has permitted live-in partnerships in a few instances that fall under the purview of the applicable laws.

Children born out of living Relationship

Children born out of live-in relationships have the same legal rights as children born to married couples. It is noted that live-in couples are not permitted to adopt children in India per the Guidelines Governing the Adoption of Children announced by the Central Adoption Resource Authority.

Laws Regarding In-Relationship Relationships

Under Indian law, live-in partnerships are not specifically addressed. However, several legislation and court rulings have recognised the rights of couples who are living together and have given them legal protection.

In India, a few of the provisions that deal with live-in partnerships are as follows:

The 1955 Hindu Marriage Act:

In addition to recognising a woman’s right to support from her spouse in the event of a separation, the Act provides for the registration of marriages. The Act permits women in live-in relationships to seek maintenance if they can demonstrate that their relationship is analogous to a marriage, even if it does not recognise such relationships as legitimate unions.

The Domestic Violence Act of 2005

 It protects women in live-in relationships, as well as those in other types of domestic relationships, from abuse and violence. The statute offers security to women in such partnerships and acknowledges live-in relationships as relationships with the characteristics of marriage.

2006 Domestic Violence Protection of Women Rules:

The process for women in live-in relationships to request protection orders, residency orders, and financial relief is outlined in the rules developed under the Domestic Violence Act.

Protection of Women from Domestic Violence(Amendment) Act of 2013:

The Domestic Violence Act, 2005 has been amended to add “relationship in the nature of marriage” as part of the definition of “domestic relationship.” Live-in relationships fall under this category, and women in such are entitled to protection under the Act.

Indian Penal Code:

The Indian Penal Code establishes criminal culpability for offences like rape, adultery, and bigamy, which may also be applied in circumstances of live-in relationships.


In conclusion, live-in relationships have increased in popularity in India recently, and the legal environment surrounding them is changing. Live-in relationships are not specifically governed by law in India, but the courts have recognised the legitimacy of such relationships and have granted those involved with them legal protection in a number of judgements.

The courts have ruled that adults have the right to live together even if they are not married, and that live-in relationships are neither unlawful nor immoral.

In addition, the courts have determined that women in live-in relationships are entitled to the same protections under the Domestic Violence Act and maintenance as wives who are lawfully married.

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