Woman in live-in relationship like a concubine, says Rajasthan human rights body
There was no reference to any case or complaint in the order but it referred to several Supreme Court judgements on marriage-like relationships.Updated: Sep 05, 2019 10:13 IST
The Rajasthan Human Rights Commission on Wednesday asked the Centre and state government to create an awareness campaign to keep women away from live-in relationships, saying its against their human rights as they can be treated as “concubines”.
“It is the responsibility of the government and human rights organisations to protect women from the harms of live-in relationship through intensive awareness campaigns,” an order issued by the commission’s chairperson Justice Prakash Tatia and member Justice Mahesh Chand Sharma said.
There was no reference to any case or complaint in the order but it referred to several Supreme Court judgements on marriage-like relationships. It cited these orders to argue that the government should bring a separate law for live-in relationships as it was the responsibility of the Centre and state governments to protect women from the increasing trend such relationships.
“Keeping a woman as a concubine is against her dignity because this word tantamount to character assassination. For a woman, life as a concubine is not right to life and such a woman cannot protect her fundamental rights,” the commission said.
It also asked the government to bring in a law declaring eligibility for live-in relationships, a process for registration of such relationships and mandatory counselling in case of a break-up.
“The law should specify eligibility of partners; how such relationships will be known to people at large; procedure of registration; and how these relationships can be ended after a mandatory counselling,” the commission said in the order.
It said the state government can either use its legal powers to make a law on a relationship in the nature of marriage (live-in relationship) or request the Centre to do it.
Quoting a Supreme Court judgment, the commission said the couple in a live-in relationship must be of legal age to marry or qualified to enter into a legal marriage and must have voluntarily cohabited.
The SHRC order has been sent to the chief secretary and additional chief secretary (home) for necessary action.
Former chairperson of women rights commission Lad Kumari Jain said creating awareness against live-in relationships “is a wrong move since it is the personal choice of partners in such relationships”.
“Moreover, such a relationship cannot be criminalised in any way as even the Supreme Court grants right to the women partner in live-in relationships under Protection of women from domestic violence act-2005,” Jain said.
She said the right of a woman under live-in relationship is equal to that of a wife’s and that there are many SC judgments which have come in their favour reinforcing their rights.
“If two adults are living together out of consent there is no harm rather, the women partners also have rights and the women partners should be made aware of these rights,” she said.