Domestic Violence in Live in Relationship

Updated: Jun 9, 2020


Live In Relationship:

Live-in relationship which can also be called as Cohabitation. It is a living arrangement in which an unmarried couple lives together in a long-term relationship that resembles a marriage. It involves continuous cohabitation between the partners without any responsibilities or obligations towards one another. There is no law tying them together, and consequently, either of the partners can walk out of the relationship, as and when they want. A live-in relationship gives the couple an opportunity to know the partner without having to engage into a legally binding relationship by excluding the chaos and lengthy court procedures to part ways from each other in case of incompatibility.

The concept of live-in relationships in India has been continuously under criticism as it lacks legality and acceptance by the society, because particularly in India, All relations between a Man and Women which are sexual in nature are considered illegitimate except a Marital relation entered between a man and a woman under the personal laws or under the Special Marriage Act are considered to be legitimate.


Domestic violence is any form of physical or emotional or economical violence done by either of a partner in a intimate relationship such as marriage or live in relationship. Majority of times the women tend to experience these type of violence, but, men too experience the same. Sadly many of the domestic violence cases are not at all reported by men who are victim to such domestic violence due to social stigma attached to it. Further, Children who live in such environment may grow up with psychological problems at an early age. 

In 1993, the UN published Strategies for Confronting Domestic Violence: A Resource Manual. This publication urged countries around the world to treat DV as a criminal act.

In India an Act was passed in year 2005 on date 13th September, 2005, called as Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. This Act was enacted to provide for more effective protection of the rights of women guaranteed under the Constitution who are victims of violence of any kind occuring within the family and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Further, Section 2 (g) of the said Act defined the term Domestic Violence which is as follows: “”Domestic Violence” has the same meaning as assigned to it in Section 3.

Section 3 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 is as follows:

Definition of domestic violence:-

For the purposes of this Act, any act, omission or commission or conduct of the respondent shall constitute domestic violence in case it—

(a) harms or injures or endangers the health, safety, life, limb or wellbeing, whether mental or physical, of the aggrieved person or tends to do so and includes causing physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal and emotional abuse and economic abuse; or

(b) harasses, harms, injures or endangers the aggrieved person with a view to coerce her or any other person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any dowry or other property or valuable security; or

(c) has the effect of threatening the aggrieved person or any person related to her by any conduct mentioned in clause (a) or clause (b); or

(d) otherwise injures or causes harm, whether physical or mental, to the aggrieved person. Explanation I.—For the purposes of this section,—

(i)  “physical abuse” means any act or conduct which is of such a nature as to cause bodily pain, harm, or danger to life, limb, or health or impair the health or development of the aggrieved person and includes assault, criminal intimidation and criminal force;

(ii) “sexual abuse” includes any conduct of a sexual nature that abuses, humiliates, degrades or otherwise violates the dignity of woman;

(iii) “verbal and emotional abuse” includes—

(a)  insults, ridicule, humiliation, name calling and insults or ridicule specially with regard to not having a child or a male child; and

(b) repeated threats to cause physical pain to any person in whom the aggrieved person is interested.

(iv)  “economic abuse” includes

(a)  deprivation of all or any economic or financial resources to which the aggrieved person is entitled under any law or custom whether payable under an order of a court or otherwise or which the aggrieved person requires out of necessity including, but not limited to, household necessities for the aggrieved person and her children, if any, stridhan, property, jointly or separately owned by the aggrieved person, payment of rental related to the shared household and maintenance;

(b) disposal of household effects, any alienation of assets whether movable or immovable, valuables, shares, securities, bonds and the like or other property in which the aggrieved person has an interest or is entitled to use by virtue of the domestic relationship or which may be reasonably required by the aggrieved person or her children or her stridhan or any other property jointly or separately held by the aggrieved person; and

(c) prohibition or restriction to continued access to resources or facilities which the aggrieved person is entitled to use or enjoy by virtue of the domestic relationship including access to the shared household.

Explanation II.—For the purpose of determining whether any act, omission, commission or conduct of the respondent constitutes “domestic violence” under this section, the overall facts and circumstances of the case shall be taken into consideration.

Having discussed both the terms “Live In Relationship” and “Domestic Violence” in short we shall look into the issue of Domestic Violence in Live in Relationship.  

Many legal and social issues have arisen today because people are opting for live in relationship then entering in the sacred bond of marriage. Even though there is no separate laws in India for the concept of Live in Relationship which lays down the rights and liabilities over the parties involved in a live-in relationship, and for the status of children born to such couples, there are certain existing legislations through which misuse of such relationships by either of the parties can be prevented.

The Legislations are as follows:

1. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005,

2. Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.

1. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005: Section 2 (f) of the said act has defined the term Domestic Relationship as follows: "domestic relationship" means a relationship between two persons who live or have, at any point of time, lived together in a shared household, when they are related by consanguinity, marriage, or through a relationship in the nature of marriage, adoption or are family members living together as a joint family”.

A reference of Live in relationship can be drawn out from the above definition where it says a domestic relationship can be a relation where two people lived together in a shared household through a relationship in the nature of marriage.

2. Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 Section 125 :   "Order for maintenance of wives, children and parents. (1) If any person having sufficient means neglects or refuses to maintain- (a) his wife, unable to maintain herself, or (b) his legitimate or illegitimate minor child, whether married or not, unable to maintain itself, or (c ) his legitimate or illegitimate child (not being a married daughter) who has attained majority, where such child is, by reason of any physical or mental abnormality or injury unable to maintain itself, or (d) his father or mother, unable to maintain himself or herself, a Magistrate of the first class may, upon proof of such neglect or refusal, order such person to make a monthly allowance for the maintenance of his wife or such child, father or mother, at such monthly rate not exceeding five hundred rupees in the whole, as such Magistrate thinks fit, and to pay the same to such person as the Magistrate may from time to time direct: Provided that the Magistrate may order the father of a minor female child referred to in clause (b) to make such allowance, until she attains her majority, if the Magistrate is satisfied that the husband of such minor female child, if married, is not possessed of sufficient means. Explanation.- For the purposes of this Chapter,- (a) " minor" means a person who, under the provisions of the Indian Majority Act, 1875 (9 of 1875 ); is deemed not to have attained his majority; (b) " wife" includes a woman who has been divorced by, or has obtained a divorce from, her husband and has not remarried. (2) Such allowance shall be payable from the date of the order, or, if so ordered, from the date of the application for maintenance. (3) If any person so ordered fails without sufficient cause to comply with the order, any such Magistrate may, for every breach of the order, issue a warrant for levying the amount due in the manner provided for levying fines, and may sentence such person, for the whole or any part of each month' s allowances remaining unpaid after the execution of the warrant, to imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or until payment if sooner made: Provided that no warrant shall be issued for the recovery of any amount due under this section unless application be made to the Court to levy such amount within a period of one year from the date on which it became due: Provided further that if such person offers to maintain his wife on condition of her living with him, and she refuses to live with him, such Magistrate may consider any grounds of refusal stated by her, and may make an order under this section notwithstanding such offer, if he is satisfied that there is just ground for so doing.  Explanation.- If a husband has contracted marriage with another woman or keeps a mistress, it shall be considered to be just ground for his wife' s refusal to live with him. (4) No Wife shall be entitled to receive an allowance from her husband under this section if she is living in adultery, or if, without any sufficient reason, she refuses to live with her husband, or if they are living separately by mutual consent. (5) On proof that any wife in whose favour an order has been made under this section is living in adultery, or that without sufficient reason she refuses to live with her husband, or that they are living separately by mutual consent, the Magistrate shall cancel the order." In a case, a woman began residing with the petitioner in 2008 and bore him twins in 2011. After a while she obtained a decree of divorce from her previous husband. Later on, it was revealed that the petitioner was married. The petitioner argued that without dealing with the question of a valid marriage between the parties, the Family Court awarded maintenance under Section 125 CrPC and that owing to the permanent alimony by her previous husband, she has adequate source of income to maintain herself. The Court referred to the 2003 report of the Malimath Committee on Reforms of Criminal Justice System, which recommended that the word ‘wife’ in Section 125 CrPC should be amended to include a woman who was living with the man like his wife for a reasonably long period. Applying the grounds laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Indra Sarma v. V.K.V. Sarma, (2013) 15 SCC 755 as to when a live-in relationship would fall within the expression “relationship in the nature of marriage”, the Bench said that the fact that twins were born out of this relationship indicated the couple’s intent to give it some permanence and that can entitle the woman to claim interim maintenance. The Court awarded a reduced sum of maintenance to the woman. ( Judiciary over Live-in Relationships Indian judiciary has time and again given many judgments and has rendered justice to many victims who were subjected to domestic violence in such relationship especially when there is no codified law for live in relationship in India. It should be noted that that while deciding various cases where domestic violence is involved in such concept of live in relationship, the judiciary has always kept in mind the two major factors that is societal norms and constitutional values. Even though the Court of Law in India are protecting the victims by help of existing laws but at the same time it is no where promoting the concept of Live in relationship. To name a few the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has delivered notable landmark judgements in :

1. Indra Sarma vs. V.K.V. Sarma Case decided on November 26, 2013 by Division Bench of Hon’ble Justice Shri. K. S. Radhakrishnan and Hon’ble Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose JJ. ( 2. D. Velusamy vs. D. Patchaiammal case decided on October 21, 2010 by by Division Bench of Hon’ble Justice Shri. Markandey Katju and Hon’ble Justice Shri. T.S. Thakur. ( Conclusion: Today's generation especially in urban areas are adopting Live in Relationships as a new lifestyle of living by giving it a sweet name called "Matter of choice". I want to make these guys aware that its true that there is no illegality in adopting this new way of living, but, there lies a big threat behind this choice. again from the perspective of the society in which we live in , even today, the concept of Live in relationship is considered unethical.  Speaking about Judiciary Live in Relationship is not considered as an offense in any statute of law and the sole reason behind it is that the said Live in Relationship is no where codified or enacted till date which could declare this kind of relationship as illegal. the Indian Judiciary is working tirelessly to give justice to the victims who have suffered the domestic violence in live in relationship and punish the accused even when there is no codified law. Further, the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in its famous landmark case of D. Velusamy versus D. Patchaiammal has opined that ,"Not all live in relationship will amount to a relationship in the nature of marriage to get the benefit of the Act of 2005. to get such benefit the condition mentioned by us above must be satisfied and this has to be proved by evidence." According to me, until and unless there is specific law been codified in India which could make the picture of what can be the status of Live in Relationship the victims of domestic violence in such relationship cant be brought to justice, and therefore the Ministry of Law and Justice should take up this issue and should bring a law.

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