Decoding the Legal Status of Live-in-Relationship in India

Posted On : April 8, 2024
Decoding the Legal Status of Live-in-Relationship in India
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The society shied away from the idea of live in relationship in India for a very long time. In Indian tradition, it was considered a crime or offense to live together before getting married. Most significantly, "One Man, One Wife" is favored by the Hindu Dharma as the most holy type of matrimony. However, once mental evolution begins, people become more receptive to some resisting habits in subsequent generations. Therefore, this article discovers the legality of live in relationships in India and exploring the rights, responsibilities, and legal considerations for couples choosing this lifestyle.

What is a Live in relationship?

A live in relationship in India, also known as cohabitation, is an arrangement in which two people who are romantically linked live together but are not married. The pair decides against getting married in order to keep their relationship casual despite living together and having a sexual relationship.

Is a Live-in Relationship Valid In India?

In India, live-in partnerships are not regarded by the law as legitimate unions. Indian law does not contain any specific legislation that governs or grants legal standing to cohabiting couples.

Live-in couples in India are not granted the same legal rights and protections as married couples, even though live in relationships is legal in India and as marriage is the only recognized legal union in the country. Couples may have issues as a result of live-in relationships not being recognized by the law, particularly if there is a divorce or disagreement over property.

Although live-in partnerships are not recognized by Indian law as valid unions, the Supreme Court of India has still given those involved some legal protection in specific situations. However, it is crucial to remember that married couples in India enjoy greater legal rights and protections than single individuals cohabiting.

In India, live in relationship is legal in India and somewhat protected by law as a result of multiple decisions made by the Supreme Court and High Courts. In the case of Indra Sarma vs. V.K.V. Sarma, for example, the Supreme Court ruled that a live-in relationship is protected under the Domestic Violence Act, 2005, just like a married relationship. The woman in a live-in relationship is also entitled to maintenance if her partner deserts her or declines to provide for her, according to the court's ruling.

In the same way, the Supreme Court ruled in D. Velusamy v. D. Patchaiammal that if a couple has lived together for an extended period of time and there is proof that they have presented themselves to the public as being similar to a married couple, then the relationship can be deemed to be legal.

In spite of the fact that live-in partnerships are not recognized by Indian law as legal unions, the Supreme Court has upheld the rights of live-in couples under specific situations and made live in relationship legal in India.

Case Laws Related to Live-in Relationships in India

Live in relationship is legal in India and have been the subject of several significant rulings that have been crucial in providing legal recognition and safeguarding these kinds of relationships. Some of the most significant verdicts are as follows:

  • Lata Singh State of Uttar Pradesh & Anr (2006)
    According to the Supreme Court's decision, consenting adults are free to live together even if they are not married and live-in relationships are neither illegal nor immoral and that  it comes under right to privacy.
  • K.V. Sarma v. Indra Sarma (2013)
    The Supreme Court ruled in this case that a woman in a live-in relationship has rights to maintenance and protection under the Domestic Violence Act of 2005 in the event that her partner departs her or refuses to provide for her.


Court rulings have established that live in relationship is legal in India among adults, regardless of marital status, are neither unlawful nor immoral. Additionally, the courts have ruled that women in live-in relationships have the same legal rights as wives who are married, including maintenance and protection from domestic abuse under the Domestic Violence Act.

Still, there are a lot of legal and social issues that live-in couples in India have to deal with, such as property rights, child custody issues, and societal humiliation. Governments and society must embrace cohabitation as a common form of friendship and give those who choose to live together more legal protection. To find out more information regarding cohabitation, it is best to consult with an experienced family lawyer.


  1. Is it legal to live-in relationship in India?
    Live in relationship is legal in India and it is legal for couples to live together. But there isn't any specific legislation that controls live-in relationship or offers legal protection to partners in it.

  2. Can I live-in relationship without divorce in India?
    The Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled that continuing a relationship after a prior marriage has ended without permission is illegal under Sections 494 and 495 of the Indian Penal Code as bigamy.

  3. Can a married man live with another woman legally in India?
    Yes, if both women agree to the relationship, a married man is allowed to live with another woman.  In Lata Singh v. State of U.P. case established that a cohabitation between two consenting individuals of different sexes is legal. Additionally, the Delhi High Court declared that it is not illegal for consenting married individuals to live together. The court ruled that laws cannot enforce morality and that immorality cannot be penalized by laws unless specifically stipulated in a statute.

  4. Is live-in relationship allowed in Hinduism?
    Yes, live-in partnerships are now accepted by the Indian Supreme Court as being allowed by Hindu personal rules. Live-in relationships are not recognized by other legislative legislation or the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955. But according to the Supreme Court, a man and woman who live together for a long length of time are married and have all the rights that come with it.
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