“A Live-In Relationship Is Preferred Over Marriage Because It Provides A Convenient Escape When Things Fail To Work Between Partner”: Chhattisgarh High Court

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Case Title: Abdul Hameed Siddiqui vs Kavita Gupta

The division bench of Justice Goutam Bhaduri and Justice Sanjay S Agrawal of the Chhattisgarh High Court noted that a live-in relationship is preferred over marriage because it provides a convenient escape when things fail to work between partners.

“A live-in relationship is preferred over marriage because it provides a convenient escape when things fail to work between partners. If the couple wishes to break up, they enjoy the freedom to split unilaterally, irrespective of the consent of the other party and without having to go through the cumbersome legal formalities in the court”.

The bench addressed a habeas corpus petition submitted by a man challenging a lower court’s decision that denied him custody of his child, who was born during a live-in relationship with a woman. According to the petition, the man, a Muslim, had engaged in a live-in relationship with a Hindu woman. Their child was born. Over time, the relationship deteriorated, leading the woman to leave the man’s residence with the child.

In response, the man initiated legal proceedings in the family court to secure custody of his child, asserting his ability to provide for the child due to his financial stability. Despite his claims, the family court rejected his plea for custody.

Consequently, he escalated the matter by filing a petition before the High Court.

The bench highlighted that, in our society, the absence of formalizing a relationship through marriage is often perceived as a social stigma due to the emphasis placed on social values, customs, traditions, and legal frameworks aimed at upholding the institution of marriage. The institution of marriage offers a level of security, social recognition, personal growth, and stability that is often lacking in live-in relationships.

Nevertheless, the Court acknowledged that challenges can arise within marriages, with women commonly experiencing more significant hardships in cases of marital breakdown.

Upon close examination of societal trends, it becomes evident that the traditional stronghold of marriage over individuals has weakened, largely influenced by Western cultural norms. This shift in attitudes and a growing indifference towards marital responsibilities have seemingly paved the way for the emergence of live-in relationships, as highlighted by the aforementioned bench. Therefore, there is a pressing need to address the protection of women engaged in live-in relationships, given that they frequently find themselves as both the complainants and victims of violence perpetrated by their partners in such arrangements.

The bench opined that “It is very easy for the married man to walk out of the live-in relationship and in such case the courts cannot shut their eyes to the vulnerable condition of the survivor of such distressful live-in relationship and children born out of such relationship”.

Accordingly, the bench dismissed the petition of the man.

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