In a ruling which might have a far reaching impact, Madras High Court has said if a couple in the right legal age indulge in sexual gratification, it will be considered a valid marriage and they could be termed as husband and wife.
"..if any couple choose to consummate their sexual cravings, then that act becomes a total commitment with adherence to all consequences that may follow, except on certain exceptional considerations," Justice C S Karnan said in his order.
He said that the marriage formalities of tying a mangalsutra, garlands and rings were only for the satisfaction of society.
Either party could approach a family court for declaration of marital status by producing documentary proof for a sexual relationship.
The judge also said once such a declaration is obtained, the couple can establish self as each others' spouse in any government records.
Justice Karnan made these observations in his order yesterday while modifying an April 2006 judgement of a family court in a maintenance case.
A family court in Coimbatore had ordered a man to pay Rs 500 maintenance per month to his two children and Rs 1,000 as litigation expenses and had held that the woman's wedding with him did not have any documentary proof.
In his judgement, Justice Karnan directed the man to pay her maintenance of Rs 500 a month from the date of petition (September 2000) and that the arrears be paid within three months.