In a ruling having far reaching implications, the Madras High Court has decreed taht if a couple in the right legal age indulge in sex, it will be considered a valid marriage and they could be legally termed as husband and wife.
"..if any couple choose to consummate their sexual cravings, 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 further added that the formalities of tying a mangalsutra, garlands and rings were only for the satisfaction of the society.
Either party could approach a family court for declaration of their marital status by producing documentary proof of a sexual relationship. Once a declaration is made, the couple can establish themselves as each other's spouse in any Government records.
The observations were made 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 p.m. to his two children and Rs 1000 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 and to pay the arrears within three months.