Unmarried couple indulging in sex in "live-in" can be considered “Married” rules Madras High Court

Unmarried couple indulging in sex in "live-in" can be considered “Married” rules Madras High Court

If any unmarried couple of the right legal age “indulge in sexual gratification in a live-in relationship,” this will be considered a valid marriage and they could be termed “husband and wife,” the Madras High Court has ruled.

According to a report in The Hindu, the court said,  “If a bachelor has completed 21 years of age and an unmarried woman 18 years, they have acquired the freedom of choice guaranteed by the Constitution. Consequently, if any couple choose to consummate their sexual cravings, then that act becomes a total commitment with adherence to all consequences that may follow, except on certain exceptional considerations. Marriage formalities as per various religious customs such as the tying of a mangalsutra, the exchange of garlands and rings or the registering of a marriage were only to comply with religious customs for the satisfaction of society.”


The Court has noted that if necessary either party to a relationship could approach a Family Court for a declaration of marital status by supplying documentary proof for a sexual relationship. Once such a declaration was obtained, a woman could establish herself as the man’s wife in government records. Legal rights applicable to normal wedded couples will also be applicable to couples who have had sexual relationships which are established.

In 2010, Supreme Court Bench consisting of Justices Markandey Katju and T S Thakur held that “merely spending weekends together or a one-night stand would not make it a ‘domestic relationship”.

However in 2010 another Supreme Court Bench consisting of Justices G.S. Singhvi and Asok Kumar
referred the following questions relating to a live-in relationship for the consideration of a larger bench.


1. Whether the living together of a man and woman as husband and wife for a considerable period of time would raise the presumption of a valid marriage between them and whether such a presumption would entitle the woman to maintenance under Section 125 Cr.P.C?

2. Whether strict proof of marriage is essential for a claim of maintenance under Section 125 Cr.P.C. having regard to the provisions of Domestic Violence Act, 2005?

3. Whether a marriage performed according to customary rites and ceremonies, without strictly fulfilling the requisites of Section 7(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, or any other personal law would entitle the woman to maintenance under Section 125 Cr.P.C.?

This is still under the consideration of the Supreme Court.