Radha: Hey Anu, that Sanjay and Pinky in your apartment, very nice couple na?
Lakshmi: Aiyyo, Radha! They are not married, just living together!
Radha: Narayana! Eeshwara! Cheee! What do you mean living together?
Lakshmi: They live in the same house like husband and wife, but not married. It’s called live in relationship or something. They were playing some court judgment on news the other day . Sigh! All western culture spoiling our society
Radha: Aiyyo Raama Seriously ya… Our society is going to dogs. All westernization!
The recent Madras HC judgment on live in relationships has got the Radhas and Lakshmis of our society talking about a much tabooed topic “Live in Relationships”. The concept is alien to our “Bharatiya Parampara” though such relationships are becoming increasingly popular in metropolitan cities. Simply put , a live in relationship is a mutual agreement between two partners who agree to stay with each other without marriage. They live together as a couple to check their compatibility and if they don’t get along they separate. There are lot of proponents of live in relationships who say that this arrangement helps them bond with their partner without any societal bonds. It is like a trial run before taking the ultimate plunge into marriage. Both the partners will be able to understand how living with each other can be and help the relationship blossom without any diktats. In the worst case , if things don’t work out , the option of parting ways without any legal or social tangles is also open. Sounds convenient ? Right ?
Well , things aren’t always as perfect as they seem . There is a flip side to this as well. The absence of any social responsibility leads to some people misusing the relationship and frequently switching partners. This can lead to cases of emotional trauma and suicide. Remember Jiah Khan? She committed suicide after her live in partner Suraj Pancholi “cheated” on her. Getting into a relationship without any commitments can be a double edged sword. There is still a lot of social taboo associated with live in relationships. That makes daily life for a couple very difficult as they have to endure the gossips from their neighbors and reprimands from their families.
The social aspect notwithstanding , the legal aspect can’t be ignored. In India, there exists only one kind of legal relationship between a couple and that social union is termed as “Marriage”. Till recently, only the rights of married couples was recognized and established. A landmark judgment of the Supreme Court in 2010 opined that a man and woman living together without marriage cannot be construed as an offence. Since then, several judgments have been passed which confer rights to women and children in live in relationships at par with those in marriages. However, there are preventive measures only against physical violence. What remain outside the legal ambit are acts of emotional cruelty, like emotional blackmail or misuse of joint assets. These are risks that live-in couples often experience in India. On the legal front, there should be new laws pertaining to live in relationships. The live-in relationships should be presumed as permanent after a specific period of time. The children born out of such relationships should be guaranteed the rights of inheritance and succession
My take is that live in relationships are definitely here to stay. It is a matter of personal choice and does provide an opportunity for people to live under the same roof before tying the knot. At the same time, people should be aware of the risks and social taboo involved and take a call. Everyone has their own views and must take a decision rationally. In the words of King Khan “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist, so just keep walking…”.