Research scholar defends her Phd thesis on  social and legal status of live in relationships in India

A.C. Saxena

Bareilly:  A viva voce examination for PhD was conducted  at the Law Department of MJP Rohilkhand University Bareilly. Research scholar  Sonika Mathur has defended her PhD thesis under the supervision of Dr Amit Singh, Head and Dean of the Law Department of the University. The topic of her PhD thesis is ” Impact of Live-in Relationship Women’s Property Rights: A Socio- Legal Study of Delhi-NCR.

The present research work is based on a very new and creative topic and till now, no research has been done on this topic in the University. The important points of this research is as follows-
In the present research work, apart from the historical orientation of live in relationships in India, the social and legal status of these relationships in the present scenario has been broadly discussed. The researcher also did a comparative analysis of the social and legal status of these relationships prevailing in France, New Zealand and Philippines.

The present research deeply analysed various decisions of Hon’ble Apex courta and High Courts which mandated that it is legal obligation to maintain those unmarried women who cohabit with a man without entering in to marital relationship and discharging her obligations under relationships like a family. The courts also upheld that these women should get some proprietary rights and the offspring of these kind of relationships have the same property rights as the children of valid wedlock.

The researcher has collected the data from more than 1000 men and women belong from different age groups and professions. The data also includes some people who are or have been in these kinds of relationships. The important outputs of the data analysis are as follows-

Around 60% of the people opined that live in relationships are those kind of relationships wherein unmarried heterogeneous couple cohabit with each other and have voluntarily sexual relationshipa.

Out of total 540 people, 11% have accepted that they have been in live in relationships and out of this percentage, 66% are men and 34% are female. 61% are of 26-50 age group and 66% aee belonged to different professions.

76% of the people’s opined that these kind of relationships are prevailing mostly in metro cities and the reasons of gaining popularity of these relationships are facination towards western culture, testing compatibility before marriage and unwillingness to enter into marital responsibilities.

The advantages of these relationships are testing compatibility before marriage, walk in and walk out relationship and lack of mutual responsibilities; while the disadvantages are that these relationships dilute the institution of marriage.

60% of the people have knowledge about legal provisions regarding live in relationships.

70% of the people are of the opinion that live in is now a prevalent form of relationship in the country and it prevailing in any section of the society.

Around 80% of the people opined that live in relationships should not be criminalised.

Around 55% of the people have found it right what Apex court has mandated that the women under live in relationship should get maintenance and only 35% have found it right to give succession right to the women under live in relationships and 48% have ratified to give palimony rights to these women.
70% persons have opines that there should be a specific legislation to regulate these form of relationship.

Followings are the suggestions of this research-

The researcher has suggested to establish a hybrid model to regulate these kind of relationships after analysing the legal structure of different countries. It is also suggested that some factors like object of entering in to these relationships, duration, continuity, family and financial contribution of each partner in the relationship and contribution in care of children should also be considered while determining whether two persons are in live in relationships or not.

There should be an specific legislation for these relationships.

There should be an elemyof contract between the couple before entering into these relationships.
Registration should be made compulsory for these relationships.

There should be an amendment under sections 125 of CrPc, S.16 of Hindu Marriage Act, S. 375, 498A of IPC to include also the women under live in relationships.

The principles of Palimony which is prevalent in US should also be included in Indian Legal System.

The Supervisor of thesis Dr.Amit Singh told that a copy of the thesis with its finding is to be send to Ministry of women and Child Welfare, Govt. Of India, New Delhi for Incorporation of suggestions into law formation for India.

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