In a judgement that could revolutionise the social fabric of the Indian society, Supreme Court has ruled that an unmarried couple living together would be presumed legally married.
A bench of Justices MY Eqbal and Amitava Roy ruled that a couple living together for a number of years would rightfully lead them to presume that the couple was, for all intents and purposes, married. The bench also added that the woman in the relationship would be eligible to inherit the property after the death of her partner, reports The Times of India.
"It is well-settled that the law presumes in favour of marriage and against concubinage, when a man and woman have cohabited continuously for a long time. However, the presumption can be rebutted by leading unimpeachable evidence. A heavy burden lies on a party who seeks to deprive the relationship of legal origin," the bench ruled.
Earlier this year, the High Court had ruled that it would not keep live-in relationships outside the purview of rape.
In 2013, a Supreme Court bench of Justices KS Radhakrishnan and Pinaki Chandra Ghose had framed guidelines for bringing live-in relationships within the purview of Domestic Violence Act.
Since 2010, the Supreme Court has consistently given the woman in the live-in relationship the rights of a lawful wife.
(With Agency inputs)