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Wednesday, January 2, 2013


The woman in a live-in relationship and second wife is not entitled to maintenance unless she fulfills certain parameters, the Supreme Court in VELUSAMY Vs D PATCHAIAMMAL [2010 (10) SCC 469] had observed that merely spending weekends together or a one night would not make it a domestic relationship.

A bench comprising Justices Markandey Katju and T S Thakur said that in order to get maintenance, a women, even if not married, has to fulfill the following four requirements:
    1. The couple must hold themselves out to society as being akin to spouses.
    2. They must be of legal age to marry.
    3. They must be otherwise qualified to enter into a legal marriage, including being unmarried.
    4. They must be voluntarily cohabited and held themselves out to the world as being akin to spouses for a significant period of time.

The Supreme Court observed, in our opinion not all Live-in relationships will amount to a relationship in the nature of marriage to get the benefit of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. To get such benefit the conditions mentioned above must be satisfied, and this has to be proved by evidence. If a man has a ‘keep’ whom he maintains financially and uses mainly for sexual purposes and/or as a servant it would not, in our opinion, be a relationship in the nature of marriage.

 The Apex court passed the judgment while setting aside the concurrent orders passed by a matrimonial court and the Madras High Court awarding Rs 500 maintenance to Patchaiammal who claimed to have married the appellant D Velusamy. 

Velusamy had challenged the two Court’s order on the ground that he was already married to one Laxmi and Patchiammal was not married to him though he lived with her for some time. 

The Apex court also observed, "No doubt the view we are taking would exclude many women who have had a Live-in relationship from the benefit of the 2005 Act (Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act), but then it is not for this court to legislate or amend the law. Parliament has used the expression 'relationship in the nature of marriage' and not 'Live-in relationship'. The court in the garb of interpretation cannot change the language of the statute," the bench observed.

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Prepared by: S. Hemanth