A Supreme Court Bench has said, “An unmarried woman will not be able to claim maintenance by merely spending weekends together or a one night stand would not make it a domestic relationship. Not all live-in relationships will amount to a relationship in the nature of marriage to get the benefit of the Act of 2005 (The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005) . To get such benefit the conditions mentioned must be satisfied, and this has to be proved by evidence. If a man has a ‘keep’ whom he maintains financially and uses mainly for sexual purpose and / or as a servant it would not, in our opinion, be a relationship in the nature of marriage”.
The Supreme Court stated that a ‘relationship in the nature of marriage’ is akin to a common law marriage. For the purposes of claiming benefits under the domestic violence law, the claimant must satisfy four requirements i.e. (a) the couple must hold themselves out to society as being akin to spouses; (b) they must be of legal age to marry; (c) they must be otherwise qualified to enter into a legal marriage, including being unmarried and (d) they must have voluntarily cohabited and held themselves out to the world as being akin to spouses for a significant period of time.
The entire text of the Judgment is available here.