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Frame uniform law on illegitimate kids: HC

In a controversial verdict, the Kerala HC has suggested to the Union Govt to bring in a uniform law to ensure that illegitimate children get their right of succession, irrespective of their religion. The case.

india Updated: Dec 10, 2008 01:21 IST
HT Correspondent

In a controversial verdict, the Kerala High Court has suggested to the Union Government to bring in a uniform law to ensure that illegitimate children get their right of succession, irrespective of their religion.

A division bench of Justices C.N. Ramachandra and M.C. Harirani said such a law should be in tune with Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) which deals with maintenance to the wife, children and other dependents and applies to followers of all religions.

The court’s suggestion came while it was hearing a motor accident claim filed by the wife of 36-year-old Dr Antony (a Christian), who was killed in a road mishap. She approached the high court against the verdict of the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (MACT), Pala (Kottayam), seeking equal share in his property for his illegitimate wife and two children.

The court said children born outside wedlock were entitled to inherit the property of their parents along with children born in a legal marriage.

The court’s order assumes significance in view of the fact that under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 there are provisions to take care of illegitimate children but in other communities, things are quite different. Christian and Muslim succession laws are not different.

The court said illegitimate children, though born outside wedlock, are born to a man and woman who cohabited for some time and are in substance husband and wife for all purposes.

Citing the legal provisions in some Western countries where children born out of wedlock get equal status and opportunity, the bench emphasized that they needed legal protection.

The bench noted that these days, many youngsters were living together without marriage.

The high court also upheld the decision of Pala MACT that had awarded Rs 50,000 to the parents of the deceased and divided his property between his legal wife and two children and a woman and two children with whom he was living when the mishap occurred.