Law Presumes in Favour of Marriage – And Against Concubinage

In the case of A. Dinohamy v. W.L. Balahamy, AIR 1927 PC 185, it was held that where a man and woman are proved to have lived together as husband and wife, the law will presume, unless the contrary is clearly proved, that they were living together in consequence of a valid marriage and not in a state of concubinage. The court observed as under:
“The parties lived together for twenty years in the same house, and eight children were born to them. The husband during his life recognized, by affectionate provisions, his wife and children. The evidence of the Registrar of the District shows that for a long course of years the parties were recognized as married citizens and even the family functions and ceremonies, such as, in particular the reception of the relations and other guests in the family house by Don Andris and Balahamy as host and hostess-all such functions were conducted on the footing alone that they were man and wife. No evidence whatsoever is afforded of repudiation of this relation by husband or wife or anybody.
In the case of Gokal Chand v. Parvin Kumari, AIR 1952 SC 231, the court observed that continuous cohabitation of woman as husband and wife and their treatment as such for a number of years may raise the presumption of marriage, but the presumption which may be drawn from long cohabitation is rebuttable and if there are circumstances which weaken and destroy that presumption, the court cannot ignore them.
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 period of 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. Dhannulal v.Ganeshram, 2015 (4) AWC 3539.

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Filed under Civil Law, Presumption of Marriage

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