The Supreme Court on Monday decided to examine whether a live-in partner, concubine or a girlfriend is entitled to maintenance even though under existing Indian laws she is not eligible for the same.
The apex court passed the direction while chiding a man for having intimate relationship with a woman for 14 years but refusing to pay her maintenance on the ground that she was not legally entitled to it.
A Bench of Justices Markandeya Katju and T S Thakur appointed senior counsel Jayant Bhushan to assist the court on the issue and posted the matter for further hearing on Wednesday.
The Bench said though Indian laws may not permit it yet, there was no reason why such benefit should not be extended to a live-in-partner and cited the ruling of a Californian court in the US which had ordered similar relief by invoking the doctrine of "palimony."
"You had spent 14 years with her. She lost her youth but you do not want to pay anything to her. She might not have been legally married to you but you have an obligation," Justice Katju, heading the Bench, told counsel Harish Kumar T appearing for D Velusamy.
Velusamy moved the Supreme Court after a matrimonial court in Tamil Nadu had ordered him to pay an alimony (maintenance) of Rs 500 to D Patchaiammal who insists she was married to Velusamy in 1986.
Counsel for Veluswamy said Patchaiammal's claim was false as he was already married in 1980 and any so-called marriage in 1986 was invalid in the eyes of the law.