Live In Partners Are Also Entitled To Maintenance

The supreme Court of india has observed that live in partners  can also claim maintenance under the Domestic Violence Act. It has further observed that economic abuse also constitutes domestic violence as per the provisions of the Act.

These observations came  while deciding the Criminal Appeal no(s) 1656/2015 in case Lalita Toppo  versus the State Of Jharkhand and Anr.

The Court further observed :

“ The appellant before us would have an efficacious remedy to seek maintenance under the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005(hereinafter referred to “DVC Act,2005”) even assuming that she is not the legally wedded wife and, therefore, not entitled to maintenance  under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure,1973”

The Jharkhand High Court in this case had held that section 125 Cr.P.C does not provide for the grant of maintenance to a woman who is not legally married to the person from whom such maintenance is claimed. In this case there was no marriage but a live in relationship.

Earlier a Two Judge Bench had referred  the following questions to a larger bench:

. Whether the living together of a man and woman as husband and wife for a considerable period of time would raise the presumption of a valid marriage between them and whether  such a presumption would entitle the woman to maintenance under Section 125 Cr.PC?

. Whether strict proof of marriage is essential for a claim of maintenance under Section 125 CrPC having regard to the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005?

. Whether a marriage performed according to the customary rites and ceremonies without strictly fulfilling the requisites of Section7(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, or any other personal law would entitle the woman to maintenance under Section 125 Cr.PC

The bench declined to answer the questions referred to it while observing that”The questions referred to us by the  Referral Order were formulated on the basis of the decisions of this Court rendered in Yamunabai Anantrao Adhav Vs. Anantrao Shiram Adhav and another and Savityaben Somabhai Bhatiya vs. State of Gujrat and others which were rendered prior to the coming into force of the DVC Act,  2005. In view of what has been stated herein before, it is, therefore, our considered view that the questions referred would not require any answer.”

The Court further observed that in fact, under the Provisions of the DVC Act,2005 the victim i.e. estranged wife or live-in partner would be entitled to more relief than what is contemplated under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, namely to a shared household also.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *