Long Cohabitation will not make it a Valid Marriage

Long cohabitation may not make a valid marriage

Cohabitation between a man and a woman, however long it may be, will not become a valid marriage, if either of them is already a married person, the High Court of Kerala says in Rema v Radhamani (Mat appeal No 813 of 2017).

Normally, continuous co-habitation of two adults for several years will raise the presumption of marriage. The presumption is however a rebuttable one.

Here in this case the deceased person had a legally wedded wife when he cohabited with the second lady for long.

This case is between a cohabitant & lawful wife

This case is between the appellant who lived for four decades with a person, and the first respondent who is a lawfully wedded wife. In this appeal, both ladies were claiming the status of the legally wedded wife of deceased K.T.Ramakrishnan Nambiar, who died on 24.9.2012. According to the 1st respondent, Ramakrishnan Nambiar married her on 27.4.1966 as per the religious rites and ceremonies and on the other hand, the 1st appellant claims that late Ramakrishnan Nambiar married her on 28.3.1970 as per the customary rites.

HC declared appellant marriage was not legally valid

The High Court of Kerala declared that the marriage of the appellant with the deceased is invalid as the marriage between the deceased and the respondent subsisted at the time of his death.

Marriage is presumed when two adults cohabit for long

On the other hand, where the partners lived together for long spell as husband and wife there would be presumption in favour of wedlock. The presumption was rebuttable, but a heavy burden lies on the person who seeks to deprive the relationship of legal origin to prove that no marriage took place. Law leans in favour of legitimacy and frowns upon bastardy. (Badri Prasad v Dy. Director of Consolidation and Ors [AIR 1978 SC 1557].


  1. Rema v Radhamani (Mat appeal No 813 of 2017)
  2. Badri Prasad v Dy. Director of Consolidation and Ors[AIR 1978 SC 1557]