In India, the essence of marriage is on principles and responsibilities. People have been following this for a very long time and consider it as their duty. But as our society is developing and moving forward, our youth is looking for an alternative. They think that before getting married to someone, they should know each other better. So here comes the concept of live-in relationships. In this way, a man and a woman can live together without getting married. Whether legal or illegal, living like this in India is considered taboo. Live-in relationships are getting popular in metropolitan cities, yet a lot of people think that it is destroying the traditions and social fabric of society.
The legal status of live-in relationships
The question: whether live-in relationships are legal or not came to the supreme court in the case of Badri Prasad v. Dy Director of Consolidation. Both the parties were living together for 50 years without getting married. Now here the question comes before the court whether they should grant some status to their relationship or not.
The decision was in favor of the couple.
If you see another case of S.Khushboo v. Kanniammal and another, the court stated that it is a fundamental right to live together that comes under Section 21 of the Indian Constitution. They know that the concept of two people of the opposite sex living together is immoral, yet it is valid in the eyes of law. The Delhi high court observed in the case of Alok Kumar v. State that such relationships do not create any legal obligations on the two people. Some people said that it is a crime and hence the couple should get a punishment.
Society’s response and related issues
Marriage is a sacrament in India. However, it is not yet possible to trace the origin of marriage as it has been there since the birth of man. The purpose of marriage is- to give legitimacy to a couple having a sexual relationship while the child born out of it is legitimate. The concept of marriage is so important for Indian society. If a man and woman engage in a relationship without marrying each other, then they have to bear the consequences. Society will judge their character and their families will hear questions on upbringing.
Some metropolitan cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, and Chennai are accepting live-in relationships. Urban India has become open-minded. Several factors are responsible for this change like freedom, globalization, privacy, and education. The taboos are fading away gradually and families are opening up. They think that for a marriage to work, two individuals should understand each other and see if they are compatible.
Moreover, there are fewer complications as compared to marriages and you can live together for as long as you want. In western society, the choice of an individual comes first. On the other hand, a large population looks at such relationships as a violation of the duties of marriage. Most people in rural India have a negative outlook on this concept. They think that a live-in relationship between two people of the opposite sex is just a way to fulfill their sexual desires and it is nothing serious.
Society thinks that it is a way out for people to leave their responsibilities and become careless. Most conservatives say that it is a bad influence on the youth and it should stop. They say children born out of wedlock are a mistake, while they experience mental trauma if the couple separates.
It is all about our perspective
While looking at Indian society, it is clear that people have value for their culture and traditions. The concept of marriage and live-in relationships is opposite. Both of them are different in ways. Changes will come as new generations come forward but then we cannot judge those who oppose the concept of living together before marriage. For them, their beliefs are important, while you cannot change their mindset. Hindu Dharma does not permit such relationships, while people follow the concept of marriage as an eternal union that will not break for seven generations.
Although live-in relationships have several benefits, it is difficult to say that everyone accepts this change as everyone has different perspectives on different things. Moreover, the judiciary has done the right thing by giving legal status to live-in relationships because two people should have the right to think for themselves in a democratic country.