New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday held that an adulterous relationship may become matrimonial by consent and referred to a larger Bench the question as to whether a woman in a live-in relationship was entitled to maintenance from her man.
The apex court said a decision on the issue was required as there was a conflict between the The Protection Of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, and Section 125 CrPC is-a-vis grant of maintenance to a woman in a live-in-relationship.
While the Domestic Violence Act recognises the right of a woman in a live-in relationship to maintenance from the man, Section 125 postulates a situation in which only a legally wedded wife, aged parents and children are entitled to maintenance from the man.
"We believe that in the light of the constant change in social attitudes and values, which have been incorporated into the forward-looking Act of 2005, the same needs to be
considered with respect to Section 125 of CrPC and accordingly, a broad interpretation of the same should be taken," a Bench of Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly said in a judgement.
The apex court passed the judgement while dealing with an appeal filed by Chanmuniya seeking maintenance under Section 125 CrPC from her brother-in-law Virendra Kumar Singh Kushwaha whom she claimed to have married according to their custom after the death of her husband Ram Saran.
Kushwaha had, however, denied the fact of marriage and refused to give her any maintenance. The matrimonial court in Uttar Pradesh had directed him to pay maintenance but the High Court quashed the order, after which the woman appealed in the apex court.