The Allahabad High Court provided relief to a couple living in a live-in relationship stating that "No one shall interfere in the peaceful living of the petitioners."
The petitioners were adults according to the birth certificates of their High school and were living together with mutual consent.
In Indian society, where marriage is considered as a holy sacrament and contract, it holds immense social, institutional value. It is said that marriages in India are not just the Union of two individuals but also the Union of their family.
The concept of live-in relation is now making its roots in India. Live-in relation or Cohabitation is an arrangement where a couple lives together for a long term that mimics the marriage but without the actual wedlock. In a country where parents might try to restrict their kids from marrying against the will of parents or, in some cases, commit heinous crimes such as murder and violence against the couple to stop them. For orthodox Indian parent's live-in relationships goes against their soul and they cannot accept it. It shows the stringent, inflexible, and conservative society we live. Mostly on one side, the western culture tends to have an impact on Indian culture in a positive way, but on the other hand, we carry on living in a retrograde and repressive system.
In the landmark case of S. Khushboo v. kannimanal, the Hon'ble Supreme court opined that.
"No doubt in India marriage is an important social institution, that there are certain individual or groups who do not hold the same view. The notion of social morality is inherently subjective, and the criminal law cannot be used as a means to unduly interfere with the domain of personal autonomy. Morality and criminality cannot coexist" This notion is also backed by article 21 of the Indian constitution. People living under the same roof as couples must fulfill the criteria of being above the legal age of marriage, and Cohabitation must be consensual. Apart from these two requirements, nothing about live-in relation contravene any current law in India.
The Indian Judiciary, with its duty to provide for justice, has always tried to mitigate the gap and decrease the animosity people hold against people involved in live-in relationships. In Revansiddappa v. Mallilkarjun justice, A.K Ganguly opined that "with changing social norms of legitimacy in every society, including what was illegitimate in the past may be legitimate today". One of the most prominent examples of this is decriminalizing Section 377 of IPC in 2018.
With the continuous effort of the Judiciary to mitigate the issue of live-in relation, it is a health reality. The relationship might be looked at with skepticism and considered gross immoral behavior, but it is not illegal considering ay present legal provision. However, with the delivery of justice, the Judiciary must keep a harmonious society due to t which Courts in the past have rules against the concept of live-in relationships.
Most recently where the Punjab and Haryana High Court ruled against the live-in relationship and declined to protect the petitioner by stating that "live-in relations are morally and socially not acceptable" and "that protecting calin granted, the entire social fabric of the society would get disturbed." However, the Supreme Court in the appeal hearing of the above case granted protection to the petitioners.
With the constant and inevitable change occurring in society and changing people's thoughts, the tussle is bound to happen. Still, with each skirmish, we ought to strive to make a better society.