How legal are live-in relationships in India? | In Focus podcast

Mihira Sood speaks to us about what legal protections are granted to live-in relationships, and the many ambiguities that still remain in the law.

Updated - July 24, 2023 05:12 pm IST

Published - July 24, 2023 04:42 pm IST

While still frowned upon in most parts of the country, live-in relationships are becoming increasingly common. Couples can choose not to get married for a number of reasons and still stay together, share a household and possibly children. So how legal are these relationships in India? 

In a recent judgement, the Allahabad High Court refused to grant protection to an inter-faith couple in a live-in relationship and even stressed upon the need to create awareness about the emotional and societal pressures and legal hassles that may be created through such relationships. The Supreme Court however, over the years, has recognised the personal liberty of individuals involved, and, in a number of judgements conferred certain rights – for instance, live-in relationships can be covered under the protection from domestic violence law. But what happens in the case of separations, alimony and children? Are these protections available to same sex and queer couples? With the increasing harassment faced by inter-caste and inter-religious couples in the country, where even getting married has become challenging, do live-in relationships require more legal security?

Guest: Mihira Sood, a lawyer at the Supreme Court and a visiting professor at the National Law University, Delhi

Host: Zubeda Hamid

Edited by Jude Francis Weston

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