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Increase in live-in relationships; Misuse of Section 498A affecting the institution of marriage

Sonal Bhargava | Prabhat Bandhulya

The Allahabad High Court, in the case of Mukesh Bansal v State of UP on Monday, observed that misuse of Section 498A IPC is impacting the traditional institution of marriage and live-in relationships, which come free of legal baggage, is replacing traditional marriage Live-in relationships have quietly crept into our socio-cultural ethos, replacing traditional weddings, according to single-judge Justice Rahul Chaturvedi, which is a ground truth that must be accepted. It is an alternative to traditional marriage in which an unmarried couple lives without marrying, free of the legal consequences, commitment, and responsibilities of marriage. "In fact, this is an offshoot of traditional Indian marriage just to save the couple from the hazards, legal complications, and bickering between them. The two young couples agree to have sexual and romantic relationship. The traditional fragrance of our age-old institution of marriage would completely evaporate over the period of time if such gross and unmindful misuse of section 498-A IPC would keep on pasted rampantly," the Court said. According to the judge, it was a voluntary arrangement in which an unmarried man or woman decides to live together in a sexual and romantic relationship under one roof. The High Court made these observations while ordering a series of safeguards to prevent the misuse of Section 498A, given the growing trend of slamming the spouse and his family with broad claims. According to the Court's order, no arrest or coercive action should be taken against the accused for two months following the filing of a First Information Report (FIR) under the provision, and the case should be sent to a Family Welfare Committee during that time (FWC).

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