New Delhi: For many couples, living together is serious business. And now the Government too has realised that it is indeed a serious affair - be it a marriage or a live-in relationship.
Starting Thursday, when the law for the protection of women from domestic violence comes into force, it will extend equal benefit to women in live-in relationships as it will to married women. In other words, this means an official recognition to live-in relationships.
Under the new proposal, the Government has defined violence against women in such a way that it makes no distinction between a woman who is married and one who is in a live-in relationship.
The law is not just about domestic violence. It's a paradigm shift in the way the state has looked at the man-woman relationship.
Accordingly, from now on there will be stringent provisions for violence against women, whether within a marriage or a live-in relationship; verbal abuse and wife bashing will be considered an offence which may invite penal provision of one year in jail and Rs 20,000 fine and, over and above of all this, none of these offences will be bailable.
It's a proposal that will provide a relief to all women who may have suffererd from domestic violence. But at the same time, it might throw up some questions related to morality.
"Even in the past, the Supreme Court held live-in relationship as legal. But we are not getting into the moral part of it. We will just look at the legal part," Union Minister for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhary, observes.