Unmarried adult-couples can stay together, SC rules. But, can they?
The Supreme Court ruled, on Sunday, that adult couples can stay together without getting married. The apex court was hearing the petition of Nandakumar, whose marriage with 20-year-old Thushara was annulled by Kerala High Court since the former didn't attain legal age (21 for boys) for marriage. Giving its ruling, the SC, however, observed Thushara was an adult and capable to take her decisions.
Thushara's father had accused Nandakumar of kidnapping his daughter
Granting Thushara's custody to her father, who alleged Nandakumar kidnapped his daughter, the High Court had cancelled their marriage. However, the Supreme Court said the marriage couldn't be pronounced 'null and void'. "Even if they were not competent to enter into wedlock (which position itself is disputed), they have right to live together even outside wedlock," said benches of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan.
Live-in relationships recognized by legislature: What SC said in judgment
"Appellant no 1, as well as Thushara, are Hindus. Such a marriage is not a void marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955," ruled the Supreme Court. The SC also reminded live-in relationships are recognized by the legislature.
SC reiterates what we already know: Live-in isn't illegal
In its judgment, which is sure to have brought tons of relief to Nandakumar and Thushara, the SC noted live-in relationships have been covered under Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005. The simplest explanation is consenting adults can stay together without getting married. The ground reality, however, paints a different picture. As it turns out, live-in couples face difficulties renting an accommodation.
'Forward-thinking' Mumbai poses problem for live-in couples
Even in India's most cosmopolitan city, Mumbai, couples hoping to live-in together face problems. A Firstpost report quoted a landlady of Santacruz, who follows no-boys-allowed policy in her leased flat, where two girls stayed. "Society in India still does not permit it. Abroad they live together and have children also, but in India, it is still not accepted," she maintained.
Couples asked for marriage certificates
The same report quoted a married woman who said she was asked for the marriage certificate, since 'she didn't look married'. In a bizarre case, another woman was asked to present a letter from her mother since she was to share a flat with her boyfriend, and another male colleague. These instances confirm the Mumbai shown in 'Wake Up Sid' is a far-fetched dream.
Meanwhile, in Gurugram, landlords are fine with live-in couples
An ET report highlighted Gurugram landlords have no problems in leasing out flats to unmarried couples, as long as they get their rents on time. Some brokers said landlords prefer renting flats to them, over 'loud, careless' bachelors.
In distressing times, online portals help couples
The websites like NoBroker.com and CoLive have become the go-to choice for couples wishing to move in together. It's hassle-free and they don't have to pay a hefty brokerage. CoLive asks couples to just produce their KYC documents. Out of over 10,000 inquiries they get, 5% constitutes of couples wishing to move-in together. As it turns out, love does find a way, after all.