16 Aug 2010

Live-in relationships do not create legal bond: High Court

Holding that live-in relationships come with their own consequences and the law would not go on to provide for the fall-outs of such relationships, in a recent decision [Alok Kumar v. State] the Delhi High Court quashed an FIR alleging rape against a person in a live-in relationship holding that no such case was made out and the allegation of rape was clearly evident to have been motiavted against the male partner in the relationship without any offence having been committed. The High Court made interesting observations about live-in relationships to this effect holding that it was like a contract and did not lead to creation of any legal relationship.

The High Court observed inter alia as under;
6. From the allegations made by the complainant, it is apparent that when the complainant started ‘live-in relationship’ with the petitioner, the petitioner had not even divorced his previous wife though it seems was living separate from her. The complainant was having a child while the petitioner was also having a child. ‘Live-in relationship’ is a walk-in and walk-out relationship. There are no strings attached to this relationship, neither this relationship creates any legal bond between the parties. It is a contract of living together which is renewed every day by the parties and can be terminated by either of the parties without consent of the other party and one party can walk out at will at any time. Those, who do not want to enter into this kind of relationship of walk-in and walk-out, they enter into a relationship of marriage, where the bond between the parties has legal implications and obligations and cannot be broken by either party at will. Thus, people who chose to have ‘live-in relationship’ cannot complain of infidelity or immorality as live-in relationships are also known to have been between married man and unmarried woman or between a married woman and an unmarried man.
9. In the present case, motive of the complainant is writ large in her two complaints. She had entered into live-in relationship knowing fully well that the petitioner was not even divorced at that time. She being an educated lady, already once married, was not a naïve as not to know the realty of live-in relationship. It cannot be thought that she was not aware that live-in relationship was not a marriage but it was a relationship of convenience where two parties decide to enjoy company of each other at will and may leave each other at will. However, despite entering into ‘live-in relationship’ with the petitioner, she could not tolerate that petitioner should marry someone else and when the petitioner was about to leave India with his fiancée and was at the airport, she went to the airport with the sole motive, which is clear from the sequence of events, to prevent petitioner from flying out from India and to teach him a lesson. She had been lived with the petitioner in London. She knew that the petitioner was working in London. She enacted the events in such a manner that the petitioner could not get hold of his passport for considerable long time and could not leave India for that period. She made allegations of rape against the petitioner.
12. Keeping in view the above circumstances, I consider that it is a fit case where FIR should be quashed to prevent the misuse of criminal justice system for personal vengeance of a partner of ‘live-in relationship’. The petition is allowed.
Have a look at the decision.

See also

1. Live-in relationships: Supreme Court reflects

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