If an unmarried couple is living together as husband and wife, then they would be presumed to be legally married and the woman would be eligible to inherit the property after death of her partner, the Supreme Court has ruled.
A bench of Justice MY Eqbal and Justice Amitava Roy said continuous cohabitation of a couple would raise the presumption of valid marriage and it would be for the opposite party to prove that they were not legally married.
“It is well settled that the law presumes in favour of marriage and against concubinage, when a man and woman have cohabited continuously for a long time. However, the presumption can be rebutted by leading unimpeachable evidence. A heavy burden lies on a party who seeks to deprive the relationship of legal origin,” the bench said.