Writ petition filed at SC demands legal recognition of Live-in Relationships in Nepal

Kathmandu: Advocate Anu Bhattarai has taken a significant step towards advocating for the legal recognition of live-in relationships in Nepal by filing a writ petition at the Supreme Court (SC). This groundbreaking petition seeks urgent legal arrangements to acknowledge and regulate live-in relationships, allowing competent and qualified individuals to cohabit without fear of legal ambiguity or social stigma.

As Nepal currently lacks any specific legislation addressing live-in relationships, Advocate Bhattarai’s petition highlights the pressing need for a legal framework to manage the increasing number of individuals opting for such arrangements, particularly in urban areas where the trend is on the rise.

Citing various societal challenges and the absence of legal protections, Advocate Bhattarai emphasizes the necessity of enacting laws to address coercion, relationship issues, and the prevailing stigma surrounding sexual matters. The petition underscores the importance of safeguarding the dignity, professional responsibilities, and ethical standards of individuals involved in live-in relationships.

Advocate Bhattarai’s statement within the writ petition reflects the urgency and importance of the matter: “Recognizing the urgent need to regulate and manage live-in relationships in a timely manner… it is essential to protect individuals in such relationships from potential issues, while preserving their dignity, professional responsibilities, and ethical standards.”

Furthermore, the petition outlines key provisions that should be included in any legislation related to live-in relationships, including eligibility criteria, considerations for personal privacy during separation, and reasons for dissolution of the relationship.

Among the demands put forth in the petition is the stipulation that individuals above the age of 18, who are unmarried, divorced, widowed, or living a single life for any other reason, should be legally eligible for a live-in relationship.

The petition also emphasizes the need for clear provisions regarding personal privacy during separation, and delineates the basis and reasons for separation, whether by mutual consent, family pressure, or personal reasons.

The first hearing on this historic petition, registered at the SC on Thursday, is scheduled for March 17. This development marks a significant stride towards recognizing and safeguarding the rights of individuals in live-in relationships, promising to reshape legal and societal perceptions in Nepal.