SC upholds maintenance for live-in partners
The Supreme Court on Tuesday said if a live-in relationship breaks down, the man is bound to pay maintenance to the woman and the children born from the relationship. A bench of Justices Vikramajit Sen and A M Sapre dismissed a petition by a man who claimed that since he was already married before entering into the live-in relationship, his partner could not claim the status of a wife to be legally entitled to maintenance under Hindu Marriage Act.The petition was filed by `Z’, who works in Bollywood, challenging an order of the Bombay high court, which had held that his live-in partner of nine years and the child were entitled to maintenance after their relationship ended. `Z’ argued that he was legally married to another woman for the past 49 years, hence his live-in partner was not entitled to maintenance as she was well aware of his marital status.

He said his live-in partner was a `call girl‘ and alleged that she had decided to live with him on her own wish since 1986. They lived together for nine years and a child was born to them in 1988. Justices Sen and Sapre slammed `Z’ for referring to his erstwhile livein partner as a `call girl’ and said he was a philanderer as he was living with another woman despite being married.

“How absurd is your argument. You yourself went for the live-in relationship but now you are branding the poor lady as call girl. You are such an idiot that you went for a relationship. You are yourself a philanderer as you got into a relationship despite being married,“ the bench said.

In this case, the woman had first approached the family co urt in Bandra for declaration of their relationship as husband and wife. The court, however, refused her plea after `Z’ told the court he was already married to someone else. She then approached the HC, which had said she was eligible to claim maintenance for herself and her daughter. `Z’ challenged the HC order in the SC.

The court, in its various orders, has recognized live-in relationships. It has gone to the extent of saying that if a man and woman “lived like husband and wife“ for a long period and had children, the judiciary would presume that the two were legally married.