10 Oct : Dear friends send your opinion for the Live-in relationships be treated as marriage or not . The Supreme Court validated long-term live-in relationships as marriages in Jan 2008. A Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat with P Satasivan declared that children born out of such a relationship will no longer be called illegitimate. "Law inclines in the interest of legitimacy and thumbs down ‘whoreson’ or ‘fruit of adultery’," the court added. The apex court judgement was followed by similar suggestions from the National Commission for Women (NCW). In June this year, in response to recommendations made by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the NCW sought a change in the definition of ‘wife’ as described in Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which deals with maintenance. The NCW recommended that women in live-in relationships should be entitled to maintenance if the man deserts her.
To marry, or not to marry?
Live-in relationships among urban, educated, upper-middle class young people began as a declaration of independence, as a way of keeping away from the ‘shackles’ of institutionalised marriages. In fact, it’s a wilful rejection of the institution of marriage, of the stereotypes it engenders, and of the restrictions and inequalities it has come to stand for. But, legal sanction granted to a live-in relationship may put it back in the trap that live-in partners sought to evade in the first place. This legal sanction implies that live-in relationships are bound by the same rules of fidelity, commitment and economic stability that marriage is structured in.
Social geographer Soma Das says that people who opt for live-in relationships do so because they do not believe in marriage. "If live-in relationships are treated on par with marriage, many young men and women may not really like to get into such open relationships. At the other end, ensuring maintenance and giving legal sanction to live-in relationships will not make the position of the female partner equal to that of the wife because social acceptance in Indian society will take a very long time. It still does not have a mindset that accepts the estranged female partner of a live-in relationship."
Psychologist Shenaz B Ilavia believes that live-in relationships are still confined to a marginal segment of society which she calls the elite, upper middle class. "Theoretically, it may sound like a better proposition than marriage, but very few people actually opt for it. A live-in relationship is not a substitute for marriage," she says. ⊕
Courtsey : Shoma Chatterji