Should people who live together have the same rights as married couples?
Marriage is a social institution that has evolved out of human culture and civilization. It is considered as a sacred institution and is performed with many ceremonies and rituals in the presence of elders, friends and relatives.
In the case of Hindus, a marriage is conducted in a pre-arranged manner in an auspicious day, at an auspicious time with the help of a priest, in the presence of large gathering most of them are special invitees, spending lakhs of rupees according to the economic status of a person.
In the case of Christians, the marriage is conducted by a Christian pastor in an auspicious manner, also involving considerable expenses.
In the case of Muslims, a marriage is conducted by a Maulvi and it is completed almost as a contract. The Muslim bridegroom has to give a sum called as mahr to the bride so as to ensure her safety in the marital life.
In the case of a Hindu marriage, the first wife is the legally wedded wife and any subsequent marriage that took place between the same bridegroom with another bride, makes it illegal and the children given birth to by the second wife are illegitimate children. Only legitimate children are legally entitled to have a share in the ancestral property by virtue of his birth whereas the illegitimate children are not entitled to have any share as per Hindu law. Again, conduct of any spouse subsequent to the marriage may lead to judicial separation or even an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and spouses who live separately are entitled to claim interim alimony or divorce from his spouse.
While the Christian marriage act provides for the regulation of their marital life, the Muslim law provides for a complicated process for the divorce by saying Talak’ which may seem very simple in the case of muslims.
Thus, from an Indian perspective, marriage as a social institution is not only considered sacred and inviolable and the parties to the marriage irrespective of their religion are henceforth coming within the purview of their respective personal laws.
Whereas, couples who are unmarried but living together, do not have any marital bondage and so they do not have any family at all. They are not recognized as couples and their relationship is defined as illegal. Their children are illegitimate. The couples as well as their children do not come within the purview of any law.
The idea of extending the same rights enjoyed by the married couples to the people who live together without any marital obligation is ridiculous and impracticable. Treating them at par with each other is nothing but a negation of the sanctity of the marriage as an ancient institution and simply throwing all legal institutions that govern or regulate them to dust bin.
Therefore, People who live together without any marital bond or obligation should not have the same rights as married couple, because they are unequal.Extending the legal rights that are available to married persons, to persons living together without getting married is a retrograde step and it is equal to putting the cart before the horse.Marriage, its attendant benefits, its legal implications are all the marks of civilisation.Persons living together without getting married are less civilised and in a way dont’ care personalities and not even a semblance of sympathy or benefit can be shown or extended to them, making the entire civilised community of people duly getting married and living together,a laughing stock in the world.