What is illegitimate 

The literal meaning of 'illegitimate' is 'one that is not legitimate'. This means something unlawful or that not recognized in law or by society. When we come to legitimacy or otherwise in human relations, this is only about relation between spouses or their children. Cohabitation by a man and woman without formal marriage is considered as illegitimate relation and children born out of such relation as 'illegitimate children'. This is notwithstanding the fact that live in relation is now acquiring some legitimacy. Other relations actually flow from the basic marital relations. Family responsibility and liabilities also arise from marital relation. 

Concubines or keeps 

The women in spousal relation without formal marriage were called concubines or keeps. This term is now seldom used. Instead unwed or live in relation is the term used. Live in relation with one woman only is akin to married and is now acceptable especially in large cities. The fact of wedding ceremony is known only to close relatives and friends. what matters generally is the fact of living together as man and wife.  

Extramarital relation 

The real issue of illegitimacy arises when somebody has extramarital relation with another woman. Many movies have been made on this theme. Pati, Patni and Voh is one such movie. Extramarital relations differ from live in.  Extramarital relation is only by a married person. This is in addition to the married one. Also this is generally with a man or woman living in another family. Extramarital relations may arise in family itself- with sister in law or brother in law or other relations. These often lead to very grave consequences for entire family.

Adultery- legal position  

Extramarital relations are viewed with social contempt. The world over, such relation is considered illicit or adultery. But there is restricted meaning of what constitutes 'adultery' in Indian law. In India, only a man is guilty of adultery. A woman cannot be prosecuted in any court. According to section 497 of I.P.C., adultery is an offence of having sex with another man's wife.  If this were 'another individual's spouse', it would make difference.  According to Indian law, sexual relation with another woman's husband is not adultery. Apparently, such law flows from the concept that a woman is simply 'property' and not a free person. How can a mere property or commodity be guilty. Some one who has sex with another man's wife is guilty of using another man's 'property' without his consent or permission. That is why the offence of adultery is non cognizable. Only the woman's husband has a right to complain.  

Thus premarital relation between a man and wife may be considered illicit or illegitimate but not adultery within meaning of law. Premarital is not same as extramarital that is relevant only to a married person. Thus a sexual relation between a married woman and her husband's unmarried moter is adultery about which the husband alone may complain. Then also, complaint will not be against his wife who is not guilty oiunder law. So men should be very cautious when entering in relation with a married woman. There is no adultery when both man and woman are unmarried. This is simply a premarital relation. If they choose to reside also together, this is live in relation now recognized for protection under law relating to prevention of domestic violence. Dating is very common in big cities. Dating may also involve premarital sexual relation.

What is dividing line between pre-marital, extramarital, friendship, dating  

There is very thin dividing line between illicit, premarital, extra marital,romantic and friendship. Men and women come in contact in various ways. When women were confined to home, the illicit and extra marital and pre marital relations developed within family- cousins, brother in law and sister in law etc. But now more women come out of their domestic boundary and come in contact with office colleaugues and others. work place is also a breeding place for such relation- viz. Dating, romance, premarital sex, live in relation and also formal marriage. These are only stages in intimacy level. every intimacy is not strong enough to result in live in relation or marriage. There may be multiple relation between men and women. Ultimately, they make a choice and final shape takes place. In this scenario, there is every possibility of men and women going through the process of brief spells of dating and even premarital sex before entering in long term relation- namely marriage or live in. 

Extra marital relations also arise when one lives for a long time away from spouse for reason of job or business. There is a very famous case of Nanavati and Ahuja in early seventies. Nanavati was a merchant navy commander. He had often to go away on high seas for months. A businessman named Ahuja got involved in illicit relation with his wife. Nanavati could not tolerate his wife's extra marital relation. He wanted his wife to walk out of his life and live with Ahuja. He contacted Ahuja and suggested that he marry her. But Ahuja retorted- "Do you think that I am to marry every woman I sleep with?" This was obviously too unpalatable and Nanvati shot ahuja dead.  

The society is getting more permissive and liberal especially in metropolitan cities. There would be very few without premarital relation. Hence normally nobody should expect that his or her prospective spouse is a celibate or virgin. But when a relation takes place on permanent footing, it is better to give a good bye to all previous premarital relations. There is nothing wrong in mere friendship with anyone even after marriage. Nobody can live in restricted boundary of formal family. Premarital relation may be acceptable but not extra marital unless the spouses are very liberal in this respect. Undoubtedly, maintaining healthy relation with ex lovers after marriage is a difficult task. Old memories hardly fade. The movie 'Kabhi Kabhi' was on this theme. Amitabh Bachan and Rakhi starred in this movie. They love did not result in mariage. They married different persons. They had a son and a daughter who fell in love with each other. Thus the story got a twist.   It is obviously a great task to day a good bye to premarital relation but this is the only way to maintain social accountability. All is okay till you do not marry or enter in long term live in relation. Thereafter. loyalty between couple is basic principle on marriage or even live in relation stands. 

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