A man and a woman not married, but having a live-in relationship is enough for the woman who is entitled to maintenance under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act. But merely living a live-in relationship is not entitled to get maintenance. The woman has to show that though there was no marriage but the relationship was in the nature of marriage. Having sexual relations with a woman frequently is not a live-in relationship. It is a nature of living as a husband and wife without undergoing a marriage. "Relationship in the nature of marriage" must fulfill the following ingredients:-
(a) The couple must hold themselves out to society as being akin to spouses.
(b) They must be of legal age to marry.
(c) They must be otherwise qualified to enter into a legal marriage, including being unmarried.
(d) They must have voluntarily cohabited and held themselves out to the world as being akin to spouses for a significant period of time.
(e) The parties must have lived together in a 'shared household' as defined in Section 2(s) of the Act - Merely spending weekends together or a one night stand would not make it a 'domestic relationship'.
(f) If a man has a 'keep' whom he maintains financially and uses mainly for sexual purpose and/or as a servant it would not, be a relationship in the nature of marriage.
A legally wedded wife or divorced wife can claim maintenance from husband under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code. A woman who was in a live-in relationship with a man but not legally wedded is not entitled to claim maintenance under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
However, if such a woman proves that she was in a domestic relationship with the man in this nature marriage would be entitled to claim maintenance under Section 20(3) of Protection of Domestic Violence At, 2005.
The Supreme Court of India has also confirmed this proposition in the Velusamy Vs Patchaiammal case. This is a progressive judgment and a great boon to the suppressed women.
Article by K.P.Satish Kumar M.L. Advocate Madras High Court
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