"There are no illegitimate children, only illegitimate parents."-Leon R.
This research study examines the illegitimate children's property rights in
relation to their parents' assets. The researcher seeks to understand what
rights illegitimate children have when it comes to receiving their parents'
assets. On the basis of the findings, the researcher stated that personal laws
of the parents play a vital role in determining these rights since there is no
particular law regulating property rights of an illegitimate child.
Despite the fact that they were not acknowledged, children born out of wedlock
now have rights under Hindu law that are on par with those of children born to
legitimate parents. They are denied these rights since, contrary to Muslim and
Christian law, the term "illegitimate" is not recognized.
The judiciary has the power to alter the law to suit the demands of the society,
even if the legislation itself remains unchanged. In order to control the
illegitimate children's ownership rights over their parents' property, it is
vitally necessary to establish a single regulatory framework. Even though the
youngster in the current situation is innocent, it needs to be adjusted that he
is burned himself.
In both historical and contemporary societies, there has been much discussion
about the difference between an illegitimate and legitimate kid. In addition to
never getting to enjoy the rights associated with a legitimate child born out of
legal wedlock, being born as an illegitimate child is a social embarrassment.
Illegitimate children have historically faced discrimination in all communities,
which can take many different forms, from the restriction of their legal rights
to the social stigma associated with not being a legitimate kid. The Latin
phrase "not in conformity with the law" is the source of the word
Since the relationship between the parents affects the legality of the
offspring, a child born out of wedlock is regarded as an illegitimate child. As
a result, an illegitimate kid is regarded as nullius filius, which simply
indicates that they have no legal connection to their parents. Illegitimate
offspring are not recognised as children, so the personal laws of the parents
govern this matter.
When determining the parent's property rights, their individual laws are taken
into account. However, there have been attempts made to provide illegal children
the same property rights as legitimate children.
- Do Illegitimate Children have a right on their Parents Property?
- What are the rights conferred to an illegitimate child under various
- To understand the meaning of an Illegitimate Child.
- To analyse the property rights of Illegitimate Children.
- To study the various personal laws governing the right to inherit
property of parents by an Illegitimate Child.
The research paper employs a doctrinal approach, and the researcher's goal is to
determine if an illegitimate kid has a claim to the parents' assets. For the aim
of the study, secondary data was acquired from a range of sources, including
books, journals, magazines, papers given at seminars and conferences, thesis
reports, website reports, published books, articles, published interviews,
newspapers, and more. The goal of the study is to comprehend the courts' logical
and liberal approach to the issue of illegitimate children's property rights and
the role played by personal laws that serve as a constraint.
Significance of the Study
Due to the participation of personal laws based on religious communities and the
ideals they defend, India places a high value on a child's legitimacy. Since the
legitimacy of a kid is judged by the type of relationship the parents have, a
child born out of wedlock is said to be illegitimate.
However, the law must adapt to the changing dynamics of society in order for it
to be effective, and it is the judiciary's duty to do so. Although a child born
outside of wedlock is considered to be illegitimate, the infant is innocent in
this case and must bear the social stigma. Though there are a substantial number
of illegitimate child cases in India, they are not often publicized.
Through this study paper, the researcher hopes to gain a better understanding of
the rights that children have in relation to their parents' property as well as
the role that courts play in addition to personal laws. A uniform code that
would be implemented regardless of how the parents' personal laws were applied
has become more necessary as a result of the inconsistent personal laws of many
Limitations of the Study
The type of relationship between the parents and the relevant personal laws
determines how the law relates to an illegitimate child's property rights. The
rights of children born outside of marriage cannot be defined consistently or
with sufficient clarity because there is no uniform code. Even though the child
involved in this case is innocent, it is impossible to overlook how society and
religion view children's rights. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the
phrase, the researcher drew on important cases in the field. The conflicting
opinions expressed in the court rulings, however, have presented a challenge.
Illegitimacy and Property Rights of Illegitimate Children under Hindu Law:
According to Hindu law, a child's legitimacy is determined by the union of its
parents. The prerequisites for a valid marriage are outlined in Sections 5 and 7
of the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, and children born from a lawful marriage are
considered legitimate, respectively.
The marriage is deemed void or voidable depending on the reasons, and any
children born as a result are considered to be illegitimate, though, if the
standards provided in the Act are not followed. The relationship and behaviour
of the parents determine the child's social status.
In the case of Jinia Koetin v. Kumar Sitaram Manjhi,
the Supreme Court
ruled that an illegitimate child-one born of a legally unlawful marriage-is
entitled to the same inheritance rights as a legitimate child. Children born out
of void and voidable marriages are now considered genuine as a result of the
revision to Section 16 of the Hindu Marriage Act, which recognised the problem.
The court ruled in SPS Balasubramanyam v. Sruttayan
that a kid born out
of a long-term cohabiting relationship shall be legitimate. The interpretation
of section 16(3) was intended to reshape society's perception of the taboo
associated with the term "illegitimate." When interpreting Section 16(3) of the
Hindu Marriage Act in the case of Revansiddappa and Others v. Mallikarjuna
, the Supreme Court determined that a child born out of a null
marriage is innocent and has a right to their parents' property.
What was formerly considered to be illegitimate may no longer be so due to the
evolving standards of society because legitimacy is determined by societal
consensus. The Court emphasized that the main goal of Section 16 is to give
honest children financial security because the Act's goal is to bring about
In contrast to Revansiddappa's decision, the Supreme Court decided that, in
accordance with the Hindu Marriage Act, an illegitimate child has a right to
inherit both ancestral and self-acquired property from their parents. The Bench
decided that even while the parents' relationship might not be legal, the birth
of a child in such a relationship needed to be assessed independently of the
parents' relationship. The child of such a connection is an innocent person and
has the same legal rights as children born of valid marriages. The core of
Section 16 (3) is this.
Illegitimacy and Property Rights of Illegitimate Children under Muslim Law:
Given that there is no Muslim legal provision that tackles illegitimacy and
illegitimate children, an illegitimate child has no right to their parents'
property. Despite having varying ideologies, Muslim law applies to several
schools. A legitimate child has a claim to the property of the mother and any
relatives to whom the mother is linked, while an illegitimate child does not
have a claim to the property of either the father or any of his or her
relatives, according to the Hanafi School. Muslim law forbids the father from
supporting his illegitimate offspring, despite Section 125 of the Criminal
Procedure Code in India mandating so.
Even though Islamic law does not contain any requirements for the father to
support an illegitimate child, the Supreme Court declared in the case of
Sukha v. Ninni
that Section 125 of the CrPC's legislative provisions makes
the father's support of such children legally compulsory. The Shia School states
that an illegitimate kid has no claim to either parent's property. According to
this system, the mere fact that an unrelated person exists results in their
complete exclusion from family property.
Illegitimacy and Property Rights of Illegitimate Children under Christian Law:
An illegitimate child has no status or validity under Christian law because
there are no clearly established religious or civil laws in India that grant
rights to illegitimate children born to Christians.
Christian law regulates property rights under the Indian Succession Act. Under
this law, which exclusively recognizes children born through valid marriages,
illegitimate children are not considered to be children. According to the
court's ruling in Jane Anthony v. V.M. Siyath, children under the law of
succession are defined as legitimate offspring and do not include illegitimate
children, who do not have any claim to the parents' property. This is true
because Christian law is quite precise in its treatment of property rights.
In order to serve the needs of everyone in society, it is important to recognize
that the Indian judicial system must deal with a variety of dynamic concerns.
Illegitimate children's right to inherit property has been hampered by a number
of social problems as a result of which they are denied their rights.
When discussing illegitimate children, it's critical to remember that the child
is always innocent, regardless of the relationship between the parents. The
child is yet susceptible to societal criticism and social disgrace. There is
discrimination that the child must endure because the laws governing an
illegitimate child's property rights are based on personal laws.
The Supreme Court has regularly taken into account the relationship between the
parents, the father's acknowledgement of the child, and tried to maintain a
consistent approach with the child's best interests, even while considering
personal laws. The judiciary must immediately create a uniform code that would
supersede the personal laws.
Regardless of their religious convictions, the Central Government must establish
legislation regarding the rights to property of illegitimate children. Due to
Section 125 of the CrPC, personal laws of the parents are not taken into account
when determining maintenance for illegitimate children. Therefore, universal
application of the same laws would be very helpful in solving many issues.
Even if illegitimate children have a claim to their parents' property, personal
laws are always important in determining whether they do. Independent of today's
multicultural environment, ill-conceived children experience societal shame that
affects their reputation. Such youngsters continue to be victimized by society
in places like ours. Although illegitimate offspring have rights under Hindu
law, other personal laws make no mention of this.
There will be some discrimination based on the parents' personal laws and
religious beliefs because there isn't a universal code that addresses the issue.
The Supreme Court has endeavoured to defend the rights of innocent illegitimate
children born out of wedlock, notwithstanding the lack of legislation in the
current situations. The laws must occasionally be updated to fulfil the demands
of the populace due to societal development.
What was legal decades ago might not be legal now, thus the Supreme Court has
made adjustments to reflect the changing nature of society. Illegitimate
children now have the same legal right to a share of their parents' property as
legitimate children due to people's liberal and rational thinking.
- Ester, John W. (1961), "Illegitimate Children and Conflict of Laws",
Indiana Law Journal, Vol. 36, Issue 2, Article 2.
- Harry D. Krause (1967), "Equal Protection for the Illegitimate",
Michigan Law Review, Volume 65, Issue 3.
- J. Venkatesan (April 8, 2011), "Illegitimate children entitled to
ancestral property: Bench",https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Illegitimate-children-entitled-to-ancestralpropertyBench/article14674196.ece
- Jay Parikh, "Right to Property and Maintenance of Muslim and Christian
Illegitimate Children", http://www.legalservicesindia.com/articles/cmrig
- Khushi Rastogi (June 30, 2020), "Property Rights of an Illegitimate
Child: Hindu law and Muslim Law",https://bailmeout.in/property-rightsillegitimate
- Prachi Dutta, "Illegitimate Children and the Law: A Primer on the Rights
of Children Born Out of Wedlock in India", https://legiteye.com/illegitimate-children-and-the-law-a-primer-onthe-rights-of-children-born-out-of-wedlock-inindia-by-prachi-dutta/
- The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
- The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
- Jane Anthony v. V.M Siyath, 2008
- Jinia Koetin v. Kumar Sitaram Manjhi, 2002
- Revansiddappa and Others v. Mallikarjuna and Others, 2011
- SPS Balasubramanyam v. Sruttayan, 1993
- Sukha v. Ninni, 1965