On Monday, the Allahabad High Court observed that the misuse of Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) is affecting the traditional institution of marriage, and that live-in relationships, which are devoid of legal complications, are increasingly replacing traditional marriage.
Live-in relationships have quietly sneaked into our socio-cultural ethos, replacing traditional weddings, according to single-judge Justice Rahul Chaturvedi, and it is a ground truth that must be accepted. It is an alternative to traditional marriage in which an unmarried couple lives together without marrying, free of the legal consequences, commitment, and responsibilities that come with marriage.
According to the judge, it was a voluntary arrangement in which an unmarried man or woman decides to live together in a sexual and romantic relationship under one roof.
“In fact, this is an off shoot of traditional Indian marriage just to save the couple from the hazards and legal complications and bickering between them, two young people agree to have sexual and romantic relationship. The traditional fragrance of our age-old institution of marriage would completely evaporate over period of time if such gross and unmindful misuse of section 498-A IPC would keep on pasted rampantly. It seems to be marriage in alternative or substitute to the traditional marriage in which unmarried couple live together without marrying with each other free from its legal implications, commitment and responsibilities.”
According to the Court’s order, no arrest or coercive action should be taken against the accused for two months following the filing of a First Information Report (FIR) under the provision, and the case should be sent to a Family Welfare Committee during that time (FWC).
The High Court made this observation while ordering a series of safeguards to prevent the misuse of Section 498A in view of the growing trend of slamming the husband and his family with broad allegations.
Case Title: Mukesh Bansal vs State of Uttar Pradesh