Whether Long Consensual Cohabitation to be Treated as De Facto Marriage?

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July 03, 2018

Case name: Aloka Kumar v. State of Karnataka & Anr.

An intriguing concern has been raised in the present case- whether on account of long cohabitation, even if the relationship is held to be consensual and the petitioner is not held liable for the offence alleged, the petitioner can be fastened the civil liability treating the relationship to be de facto marriage in view of long cohabitation?

In the case taken up by the Apex Court, the petitioner and daughter of respondent lived together for six years. It was alleged that the petitioner had promised to marry her but backed down. Thus, she was induced for the intercourse during the cohabitation on that consideration and not by free consent. Thus, the Trial Court had taken cognizance of offence against the Petitioner under Section 376 of Indian Penal Code for the offence of rape.

Hence, the aforesaid issue was taken up by the Supreme Court during the course of hearing.

The Supreme Court has noted that the interpretation may have to be considered so that a girl is not subjected to any exploitation and is not rendered remediless even if a criminal offence is not made out.

To consider the issue, the Supreme Court has appointed Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi as amicus in the case. The matter will now be heard on September 12, 2018.

Read the order here.