The High Court of Madras passed a landmark Judgment by Justice Karnan awarding rights to couples who may not legally married but have lived together in every other way as spouses while ruling on the issue of domestic partnership.
Gems from justice Karnan’s order:
“…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… Legal rights applicable to normal wedded couples will also be applicable to couples who have had sexual relationships which are established…”
“…It is not disputed that the petitioner has been a spinster before she gave birth and that the respondent was a bachelor before developing sexual relationship with the petitioner. Both of them led their marital life under the same shelter and begot two children. Therefore, the petitioner’s rank has been elevated as the `wife’ of the respondent and likewise, the respondent’s rank has been elevated as the `husband’ of the petitioner. Therefore, the children born to them are legitimate children and the petitioner is the legitimate wife of the respondent…”
He said that either party to a relationship could approach a family court for a declaration of marital status by supplying documentary proof for a sexual relationship. In this case, the man had officially admitted that the woman was his wife, by signing the ‘live birth report’ of his second child and giving his consent for a Caesarean section for the birth, according to the court. Furthermore, he ordered the ‘husband’ to pay monthly maintenance of Rs 500 to his ‘wife’
But the said judgment not at all ruling that all pre-marital sex by an unmarried couple of legally marriageable age is considered married, and the ‘husband’ in such marriage cannot marry someone else without getting a court decree of divorce from the ‘wife’ as reported in THE HINDU. However the above Judgment elevates the status of the couples as Husband and wife had continuous sexual relationships and lives together as spouses as live in relationship even though they are not legally wedded.
It is a landmark and progressive judgment benefits and protects women who are always victims of pre marital or non marital sex.