SC snubs HC, says living in akin to marriage
August 17, 2010
Days after the Delhi High Court held that a partner could "walk in and walk out" of a live-in relationship, the Supreme Court has ruled to the contrary. The bench held: "The live-in-relationship if continued for such a long time, cannot be termed in as 'walk in and walk out' relationship and there is a presumption of marriage between them which the appellants failed to rebut".
The bench dismissed an appeal filed by one Madan Mohan Singh from UP who had sought to reverse the Allahabad High Court judgment permitting the authorities to include the names of four children, born out of the live-in relationship, as legal heirs to the legacy of the petitioners' father.
After perusing the records and concurrent findings by the district authorities, the bench held the petitioners' father, Chandra Deo Singh, lived with his live-in partner, Shakuntala till his death on December 12, 1979. Their relationship, as husband and wife, had been accepted not only by the society but also by the family members.
Singh's children born out of the live-in relationship moved the authorities to include their names as legal heirs. The petitioner claimed there was nothing on record to show that Singh got married with Shakuntala in accordance with law.
"At the most she could be Singh's concubine and, therefore, the respondents have no right to inherit any share in the land," the petitioner claimed.
Introducing a fresh aspect towards the lively debate on legitimacy of the ‘live in’ relationship as well as legitimacy of kids given birth to out of this kind of relationship, the Top court has decided the fact that such children are not necessarily unlawful. The Supreme Court has additionally held that such kids possess a right to inherit the properties left behind by one of the partners in this kind of relationship, reports dnaindia
“If a man as well as a lady are living under the same roof and living together for quite a few years, there will be a presumption under Section 114 of the Evidence Act that they live as husband and wife and the children born to them will not be illegitimate,” said a bench of Justices P Sathasivam and BS Chauhan on Friday. The bench said the law presumes in favour of marriage and against concubine.
Earlier, Delhi high court had said that the alliance is like “walk- in and walk-out without strings attached to it.’’ But the Supreme Court has held that the relationship is presumed to be marriage in the eye of law if the partners keep the bonding alive for a long time.
The judgment that may have a strong bearing on several petitions raising the dispute on legitimacy of children born out of the live-in association among others was delivered in an appeal filed by one Madan Mohan Singh, challenging the judgments of Allahabad High Court and the two land consolidation tribunals which had allowed the right on the estate left behind by one Chandra Deo Singh, to the two sons and four daughters of Chandra Deo.
Madan Mohan said he solely inherits the property left behind by Chandra Deo, but Rajni Kant, his brother Anjani Kumar and four sisters contested the claim by saying since they were born out of the decade-long live-in relationship between Chandra Deo and their mother Shakuntala, they were the inheritors of the landed property.
citer for the above mentioned judgment
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
Civil Appeal No. 6466 of 2004
Madan Mohan Singh & Ors. ..Appellants
Rajni Kant & Anr. ..Respondents
J U D G M E N T
Dr. B.S. CHAUHAN, J.