Should a concubine get maintenance? SC to decide

The Supreme Court today 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.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today 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.

Veluswamy`s lawyer submitted that the matrimonial court
and the High Court had taken an erroneous view that
Patchaimmal was entitled to maintenance under Section 125 Cr
PC. Under the law, an estranged wife, besides, aged parents
and children of a man are entitled to maintenance from the
latter.

The counsel pointed out that there was no provision for
providing maintenance to a woman who is not legally married.

"It may be true that under Section 125 Cr PC she may
not be entitled to maintenance but you had spent time with her
for 14 years. There was a ruling by a Californian court in
the Marwin Vs Marwin case where the court ordered that
`palimony" should be paid even if the woman is not legally
married," the Bench said.

The apex court pointed out that the term `palimony"
emanated from the word "Pals" under which such relationship
was a sort of contract even if it was an "oral agreement."

The Bench then proceeded to appoint the amicus curiae to
assist the court on determining the issue in the light of
the ruling of the Californian court.

-PTI

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