Live-in relationships are covered by domestic violence provisions:

The government stated in Rajya Sabha on Thursday, citing Supreme Court rulings, that live-in partnerships, which have the characteristics of marriage, are covered by the protection from domestic violence law.

Law Minister Kiren Rijiju was questioned if the government intended to implement a “system” for “registering” live-in relationships and if it intends to give a set of rights for those in such relationships.

Additionally, he was questioned if the government wants to recognise non-heterosexual cohabiting couples.

In his written response, the minister stated, “Insofar as the protection of people in live-in relationships is concerned, the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 provides for the protection of the rights of women who are victims of any type of violence occurring within the family, as well as for matters connected with or incidental to such protection.”

He emphasised that in Navtej Singh Johar et al. v. Union of India et al., the Supreme Court ruled that voluntary sexual acts between adults in private are constitutional.

Citing provisions of the law, he explained that the term ‘domestic relationship’ refers to a relationship between two people who live or have lived together in a shared household, when they are related by consanguinity, marriage or through a relationship in the nature of marriage, adoption, or are family members living in a joint family.

Rijiju stated that the Supreme Court and other courts have held in a number of decisions that the terms of the Act cover live-in relationships that resemble marriage.


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