The Supreme Court of India ruled that if one of the parties to a live-in relationship was aware that the other party was married even before the commencement of their relationship, then such a relationship is not a “relationship in the nature of marriage” under the Domestic Violence Act (“Act”).
The Court categorically ruled “All live-in relationships are not relationships in the nature of marriage”.
However, the Court formulated inclusive guidelines for testing under what circumstances; a live-in relationship will fall within the expression “relationship in the nature of marriage” under the Act.
– Duration of period of relationship
– Shared household
– Pooling of Resources and Financial Arrangements
– Domestic Arrangements
– Sexual Relationship
– Socialization in Public
– Intention and conduct of the parties
The Court also said “Parliament has to ponder over these issues, bring in proper legislation or make a proper amendment of the Act, so that women and the children, born out of such kinds of relationships be protected, though those types of relationship might not be a relationship in the nature of a marriage.”
The Court also clearly stated that as the expression “aggrieved person” under the Act only takes in ‘woman’, the Act does not recognize the relationship of same sex (gay or lesbian) and, hence, any act, omission, commission or conduct of any of such parties, would not lead to domestic violence, entitling any relief under the Act.