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Conflict in the Shared HouseholdDomestic Violence and the Law in India$
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Indira Jaising and Pinki Mathur Anurag

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780199489954

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199489954.001.0001

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Of ‘Keeps’ and ‘Concubines’

Of ‘Keeps’ and ‘Concubines’

Rights of Cohabitees under Domestic Violence Act

(p.97) 5. Of ‘Keeps’ and ‘Concubines’
Conflict in the Shared Household

Brototi Dutta

Oxford University Press

The Supreme Court in its decision in Velusamy v. Patchaiammal limited the scope of ‘relationship in the nature of marriage’ under the PWDVA and interpreted it as co-terminus with ‘common-law marriage’. By doing so, the Court left women in vulnerable intimate relationships without a remedy in law. The author argues that by transposing a non-statutory category (‘common-law marriage’) into the PWDVA, Velusamy watered down the promise of zero tolerance to violence within intimate domestic relationships. Using examples from the evolution of cohabitees’ rights in English law, the author argues that the Indian Constitution, in its framing of equality and right to life and personal dignity already provides the language and framework for protection to be extended to women in every stable cohabiting relationship. This is particularly significant in the Indian context where second wives and women in de facto marriages have little legal protection, even in situations of domestic violence.

Keywords:   Velusamy v. Patchaiammal, relationship in the nature of marriage, common-law marriage, remedy, zero-tolerance, domestic relationship, cohabitees, English law, Indian Constitution, equality, right to life, personal dignity, second wives, de facto marriages, legal protection, domestic violence

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