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Long Cohabitation In Live Relationship Raises A Presumption Of Marriage: SC

CASE: Kattukandi Edathil Krishnan v. Kattukandi Edathil Valsan 2022 (SC) 549

Shubhi Rathore | Prabhat Bandhulya

The suit was filed with respect to partition of a property which was owned by Kattukandi Edathil Kanaran Vaidyar. The owner had four sons namely Damodaran, Achuthan, Sekharan and Narayan. The first plaintiff was the son of Damodaran and second plaintiff was the grandson of Damodaran or son of the first plaintiff. The Defendants argued that except Achuthan all sons of Kattukandi died as bachelors. They denied that Damodaran had married Chiruthakutty and had a son (first plaintiff) during marriage. Therefore, as per the Defendants the plaintiffs are not entitled for any share in the suit property. The Trial Court had observed in this case that as there was long cohabitation of Damodaran and Chiruthakutty, therefore it could be concluded that they were married. Hence, the plaintiffs were allotted shares in the property. Aggrieved by the decree of Trial Court, the defendants filed an appeal in the Kerala High Court and the HC reversed the order stating that there are no evidence to prove that Damodar actually married Chiruthakutty, though the evidences proved that they had a son (first plaintiff) but the son cannot be said to be a legitimate one.

The plaintiffs then moved to the Supreme Court against the order of the High court. The Supreme Court held that the voluminous documents conclusively prove that the first plaintiff is the son of Damodar and Chiruthakutty. Further, the Court held that a male and female living together for a long time will raise a presumption of marriage and any children born out of such relationship will be considered to be legitimate. Hence, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Trial Court and plaintiffs were found to be entitled to the share in suit property.

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