DNA / Rakesh Bhatnagar / Tuesday, August 17, 2010 9:53 IST
Adding a new dimension to the vibrant debate on legality of a ‘live in’ relationship and legitimacy of children born out of such tie, the Supreme Court has ruled that such kids are not illegitimate. The Apex Court has also held that these children have a right to inherit the properties left behind by any of the partners in such relationship.
“If a man and a woman are living under the same roof and cohabiting for a number of years, there will be a presumption under Section 114 of the Evidence Act that they live as husband and wife and the children born to them will not be illegitimate,” said a bench of Justices P Sathasivam and BS Chauhan on Friday. The bench said the law presumes in favour of marriage and against concubine.
Earlier, Delhi high court had said that the alliance is like “walk- in and walk-out without strings attached to it.’’ But the Supreme Court has held that the relationship is presumed to be marriage in the eye of law if the partners keep the bonding alive for a long time.
The judgment that may have a strong bearing on several petitions raising the dispute on legitimacy of children born out of the live-in association among others was delivered in an appeal filed by one Madan Mohan Singh, challenging the judgments of Allahabad High Court and the two land consolidation tribunals which had allowed the right on the estate left behind by one Chandra Deo Singh, to the two sons and four daughters of Chandra Deo.
Madan Mohan said he solely inherits the property left behind by Chandra Deo, but Rajni Kant, his brother Anjani Kumar and four sisters contested the claim by saying since they were born out of the decade-long live-in relationship between Chandra Deo and their mother Shakuntala, they were the inheritors of the landed property.
URL of the article: http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_kids-born-out-of-live-in-tie-not-illegitimate-supreme-court_1424495-all
Long live-in relationships as good as marriage, says Supreme Court
DNA / Rakesh Bhatnagar / Tuesday, August 17, 2010 0:26 IST
A live-in relationship that has existed for a long time will be considered a marriage, the Supreme Court has said.
If a man and a woman have been living under the same roof for a number of years, there will be a presumption under section 114 of the Evidence Act that they have lived as husband and wife and the children born to them would not be illegitimate, a bench of justices P Sathasivam and BS Chauhan have said. The judgment might have a strong bearing on petitions that dispute the legitimacy of children born to live-in partners.
“The law presumes in favour of marriage and against concubine,’’ judges said. However, the presumption can be disproved by “unimpeachable evidence”.
The bench passed the judgment on an appeal by one Madan Mohan Singh. He had challenged verdicts by Allahabad high court and two land consolidation tribunals favouring the two sons and four daughters of one Chandra Deo Singh. The court and tribunals said they have a right to his estate.
Madan Mohan Singh said he is the sole inheritor of Deo’s property, however, brothers Rajni Kant and Anjani Kumar and their four sisters contested Singh’s claim, saying they too should inherit the property because they were born during Deo’s long-standing live-in with their mother Shakuntala.
Deo’s wife Sonbara died in 1945 when he was in prison for taking part in the freedom struggle. Some time before that, he started an affair with Shakuntala, but kept it a secret.
Appellant Singh’s lawyer Mahabir Singh said there was nothing on record to show that Deo married Shakuntala “in accordance with law” and that at most the woman could be considered his concubine. Therefore, her children were “illegitimate’’ and had no right to his property.
Refuting the allegations, the respondents’ lawyer Abhay Kumar said three courts had held that Deo and Shakuntala have been living together for a long time, therefore, their relationship as husband and wife had been accepted by society and their families. In many official documents too, Deo is named as the father of Shakuntala’s children.
Initially Deo did not disclose his relationship with Shakuntala “because society may not accept their relationship even after the death of his wife’’, lawyer Abhay Kumar said.
The court dismissed Madan Mohan Singh’s appeal and scoffed at the evidence submitted by him. Singh had said that the respondents were born before 1960, much before Deo Singh started living with Shakuntala, who was born around 1941.
The court said that if this evidence is taken to be true, it would appear that Shakuntala gave birth to her daughters when she was just 5-6 years old. On the other hand, if Rajni Kant’s school certificate is taken to be true, it would be clear that his mother Shakuntala had given birth to him in 1940; prior to her ‘supposed’ birth in 1941.
“If all documents are accepted, they would simply lead to improbabilities, impossibilities and absurdities,” the court said.
URL of the article: http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_long-live-in-relationships-as-good-as-marriage-says-supreme-court_1424434-all