Live-in relationship is not valid if one of the partner is married: Madras High Court

The Madras High Court ruled that a married man's live-in partner cannot claim inheritance rights. Such relationships lack legal recognition.

The Madras High Court recently gave a judgement on on-going new era of live-in relationship and it says that-

“A married man’s live-in relationship with another woman is not valid as the partner cannot claim rights to inheritance or succession of other’s property without any law.”

This judgement focuses on the rights of the other partner being in a live-in relationship with a married partner as it is unfair and the court used a term in this scenario which is:

Concubine which refers to the person cannot maintain a relationship as a ‘Nature of Marriage’ because this relationship has no exclusivity and it is not considered as valid.

Case: P Jayachandran v A Yesuranthinam (Died) others

In this case, P Jayachandran filed the appeal against a trial court which gave the house site to his deceased live-in partner’s father as he inspite of being married entered into a live-in relationship and claiming it to be a ‘nature of marriage’.

The appellant was married and had children with the wife then he entered into a live-in relationship and declares to be married with her and took divorce from the wife in customary ways. But there was nothing on record to show a legal divorce. The house site was allotted to Jayachandran but he decided to do a settlement deed in her favor but her partner died and he cancelled the settlement. After that her father filed a suit to claim the housing site on the name of her daughter by claiming section 42 of The Indian Succession Act,1925 stating that there was no legal marriage between them.

As Jayachandran claimed that he took divorce from his wife in customary ways the court observed that under The Indian Christian Marriage Act “customary divorce are not permitted” as it has cetain grounds.

Court noted that as per the consequences the father was entitled to have the property and court also observed that the terms like live-in relationship or marriage like relationship are misused on the name of nature as the marriage.

Court did not considered the relationship valid because of the marriage of one of the partner and gave judgment on the favor of defendant referring to the Supreme Court’s verdict regarding live-in relationship and other courts that gave judgments on contradicting the new evolving meanings of live-in relationship.

Consequently, the court confirmed the decision of trial court and dismissal of appeal of P Jayachandran.

Case Laws regarding  live-in relationship:

Mohabbat Ali Khan vs Muhammad Ibrahim Khan (1929):

In this case the court said that where a man and woman have established to be living together as a couple, the law will pressure the couple to cohabit together with a valid marriage.

S. Khushboo vs Kanniammal (2010):

In this case the Supreme Court of India held that there is no legal provision where adults are voluntarily associated in sexual relationships other than marriage.

Indra Sharma vs V.K. Sharma (2013):

The Supreme Court of India held that live-in relationships may last for a considerable time can lead to standards of dependency and vulnerability and there should be sufficient protection for the children born out of such relationships.

S.P.S Balasubramanyam v. Suruttayan:

In this case The Supreme Court gave verdict upon the legitimacy of children born out of live-in relationships which says that “If a man and woman are living under the same roof and cohabiting for some years then according to section 114 of the Evidence Act that they live as husband and wife and the children born to them will not be illegitimate.”

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