My friends have been asking me,for my views on legalization of live-in relationships and while I opined on the relationship aspect,I reserved my comments on the move to legalize them as I was not very clear.
Are we confusing Live-in relationship,with extra marital affairs,mistresses ,the other woman and kepts as they call them ! As per my understanding,live in relationship,is when a man and woman( live-in for members of same sex,is far to be discussed in India,yet) who are legally single,live together,under the same roof,for a considerable time,without marriage.The understanding of the arrangement and the sharing of domestic duties and responsibilities and the expenditure,and the duration of the relationship,varies from couple to couple and depends on various factors.
If the mistresses,of a married man,are being included in the live-in relationships,then the government will first have to legalize polygamy ! Giving a right to the other woman to the man’s property,is almost like legalizing extra marital affairs,or polygamy.And since I think,that they don’t fall in that group,I shall refrain from commenting on that,till I am made wiser.
Live-in relationships came into existence,amongst the independent,upwardly mobile people,who wanted to eat the cake,and keep it too ! Men and woman,who need the companionship and sex (which came free with what,is a personal issue) without the commitments or bindings,social or legal,of a marriage.The basis of the arrangement was a non hassle,non committal relationship,with no strings attached and no expected or predicted shelf life.The very concept is based on a bond without binding and togetherness with independence.It was the independence that was at priority,even at the stake of social sanctity and non consideration of finances and future .
Though I am an ardent believer in the institution of marriage,I have nothing against those who live-in,or even have kids out of bedlock,but talking of legalization is stretching things too far ! Making live-in relations legal,and giving the woman the right to claim maintenance from the man,will actually undermine the very concept of the issue.How will it then differ from any conventional marriage? The poor man will be the ultimate sucker and the total looser !! If the woman does not want to take the responsibilities of a wife (what ever less or mare,they are),or the hassles of bearing the man’s child,then why this love for his money.Isn’t it demeaning for the woman,to claim money as a compensation for the time spent with the man!
I also,disagree with Shobha,when she says,that’s it is mostly the woman ,who is the live-in partner.In today’s time,there are a large number of single  woman (separated or spinster) who are doing well in life,and who often have a male-kept! What about them,when the lady decides to dump them!
Live-in relationship ,temporary or permanent,is generally between financially stable individuals,who should not eye the others money or assets,specially after they break up.Legalizing this concept and giving the lady a right to a share of the mans property and to claim maintenance from him,will start a new era of exploitation of relationships,just for the sake of money,and will give the already existing money based relationships an uglier face and a dirtier twist !
Dr Sanjay Kapoor, Lucknow

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