Tuesday Aug 16, 2022
Tuesday Aug 16, 2022

Should live-in relationships be legalized in Nepal?

What comes to your mind when you think about live-in together? Do you think it will get the same admiration as marriage?

2022 Apr 22, 11:27, Kathmandu
Representative Image Photo: Pinterest

In the modern fast-changing world, though the living together relationships or cohabitation are on the rise these days, despite its gradual acceptance in society, the question remains that does it provide the same social receipt and legal security to the couple as a married couple does?

According to Article 21 of the constitution of India which guarantees the right to life and personal liberty as a fundamental right, the Supreme Court said that, “There was no law prohibiting live-in relationships or pre-marital sex. Living together is a right to live.” Live-in relationships clarify that although it is socially unacceptable in parts of India, it is neither a crime nor a sin.

On the other hand, speaking of Nepal, according to the antisocial relationship defined by society and culture, the "live-in” needs to be recognized by law so that victims can seek legal resources in case of domestic violence.

The lawyer Shalik Ram Sapkota says that, “There is not any law for cohabitation in Nepal. But we need one asap and I think we’re 90% already there. Couples should be allowed to live together by registering at the ward office they are living in.”

But in Nepal, there are many such instances where girls are being exploited in the name of live-in relationships. “Boys show false hope of marrying their partner, rent a flat and start living together. But in the end, after being in a sexual relationship and even after aborting their child, they don’t marry and leave them”, he adds.

Taking advantage of such relationships, there are many cases where a police raid the couples and threaten societal shame at the price of bribe money. And if they don’t do so, then they would call their parents and expose them. “Even though there are such cases, the couples are afraid to file the case and it remains unspoken”, Sapkota says.

In conversation with a couple currently living with each other, “We have been in a live-in relationship for almost 3 years and I think it should be legalized as it helps us to know each other better and makes the relationship stronger; which is also good for us in near future.”

“The kind of treatment we get from our society, and relatives is normal. None of them look down on us. But in general, it’s still quite unacceptable in our society and honestly speaking, they treat live-in relationships as a crime; before official marriage”, they add.

Similarly, another individual Rita Gurung (pseudonym), voices her concerns regarding the issue, “I am open about being in a live-in relationship but I think it comes with pros and cons. You get to know your companion properly but at the same time you have to face the taunts from society and relatives.”

Adding further, “As there are no laws in our country, I am afraid of cohabitation. For example; If you marry, there are many laws that make your relationship legal. And when you decide to part ways, one has to go through legal actions. Whereas, if you are not married and just living together, then there are no legal actions taken for parting ways.”

Not only in parting ways but when the spouse dies, one does not get entitled to a share of the inheritance from the property which belongs to their deceased partner. In their point of view, the government should legalize or accept the live-in relationship by making some beneficial laws for both spouses. But the dilemma is, even if the live-in relationship is legalized, will society ever accept such relationships?


relationships Couples legal resources society married live-in relationship Domestic Violence culture crime Sin cohabitation pros and cons government
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