Despite legal legitimacy, live-in relationships are largely perceived to be immoral and it is a fad visible only in urban areas, a Delhi court observed on Tuesday while dubbing it as “infamous western cultural product”.
In remarks that may stoke a controversy, Additional Sessions Judge Surinder S Rathi said, “Traditionally speaking, live-in relationships were alien to our nation till late. Even today, it is fad which is visible only in urban areas.”
The judge made the observations while handing down a seven-year jail term and a fine of Rs. 7 lakh to a woman hailing from Mizoram for killing her live-in partner, a Nigerian national, in north Delhi over three years back.
“Lately, not only the Supreme Court gave a legal cover to this infamous western cultural product but our Parliament also accorded some degree of protection by including live-in relationship under definition of domestic relationships as defined in Section 2 of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act,” he noted.
Rathi also said that “despite all the developments granting a level of legal legitimacy to live-in relationship, it is largely perceived to be an immoral relation in our society.”
The case pertains to 28-year-old Zarzoliani stabbing her live-in partner Victor Okon Efflong, 28, to death in 2008 as she did not approve his withdrawing money from her bank account.
Zarzoliani once worked in an orphanage in Manipur and had moved in with Victor in his rented apartment in north Delhi near Delhi University.
The court noted that “there is nothing on record to show if family of the convict had consented to or was even aware of convict having a live-in relationship with the deceased Nigerian national Victor.”
Zarzoliani was convicted for unintentional killing of Victor as the court said the act was not premeditated and was executed in heat of the moment as it is not known if they had any regular income and Victor’s act of withdrawing money from her account was a “spark on mound of explosives”.
Rathi also ordered a departmental enquiry by DCP Central against the Investigating Officer of the case, Kishan Lal, for sharing the details of the case with the media during the trial and getting it published like a story in a crime magazine with his photograph, which the court called a move “aimed at self glorification”.
The judge directed that the fine of Rs. 7 lakh will be remitted to the the family of Victor in Nigeria. In case, she does not pay, she will have to undergo simple imprisonment for another one year.