While hearing a petition, the court asked if a long cohabitation can be held as a “de facto marriage.”

Should men pay compensation if a live-in relationship ends SC mullsImage for representation
news Law Tuesday, July 03, 2018 - 15:10

If a man and woman are in a live-in relationship for a long period of time, and the man has promised to marry the woman and then goes back on the promise, can it be a considered a de facto marriage, due to which he will have to pay her compensation? This is the question thrown up by the Supreme Court on Monday.

A bench comprising Justices A K Goel and S Abdul Nazeer were hearing the petition of a man challenging the order of a trial court and high court, in which his live-in partner had accused him of rape, according to NDTV.

The woman and the man were reportedly in a live-in relationship for six years, after which she filed a case of rape against the man as they had lived together and she had sexual relations with him on the promise of marriage. She argued that since he had reneged on his promise, it was not free consent but induced, and hence amounted to rape, according to the Hindustan Times.

“During the course of the hearing, one of the questions which has been taken up for consideration, whether, on account of long cohabitation, even if the relationship is held to be consensual and the petitioner is not held liable for the offence alleged, the petitioner can be fastened the civil liability treating the relationship to be de facto marriage in view of long cohabitation,” the bench reportedly observed in its order.

“This interpretation may have to be considered so that a girl is not subjected to any exploitation and is not rendered remedyless even if a criminal offence is not made out,” the bench’s order further stated.

In this regard, the apex court issued a notice to Attorney-General KK Venugopal, asking for his assistance, and asked him to depute an Additional Solicitor General to assist the court, according to News18. It also appointed senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi as the amicus curiae.

The court posted the matter for hearing on September 12.

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