Succession Rights in Case of Live-In Relationships: An Analysis in the Indian Context

17 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2012

See all articles by Amartya Bag

Amartya Bag

KIIT University - KIIT School Of Law

Date Written: March 30, 2011


Live-in relationship is one of the areas which is under criticism and highly debated in India regarding its legality and implication on the societal relationships. Long term cohabitation between two major man and woman has long been equated to a valid marriage. While the year 2010 saw a number of judgments related to live-in relationships, which includes, clear declaration by the Supreme Court that a live-in relationship is not illegal and grant of maintenance to a woman in live-in relationship. The article seeks to clarify the current legal status of live-in relationship in India. The article also tries to look into recent developments in the attitude of the Courts in granting various rights to live-in partners in India, and analysis of such judgments and also makes a comparative analysis of the trend in other legal systems and jurisdictions. The article also tries to identify the need of a proper legal framework for securing the succession rights of live-in partners in India, especially in case of intestate succession. The article concludes that there is a need of a special statutory legislation, which could be drafted following the Waggoner model, which was suggested by Professor Waggoner in his seminal work on the subject, and as modified by the recommendation by Spitko, along with a hybrid model to include optional registration process to bring about more clarity regarding the legal position of such inheritance right of such live-in partners and clearly laying down the rights and liabilities of each party.

Keywords: live-in relationship, India, cohabitation

Suggested Citation

Bag, Amartya, Succession Rights in Case of Live-In Relationships: An Analysis in the Indian Context (March 30, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Amartya Bag (Contact Author)

KIIT University - KIIT School Of Law ( email )


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