Children of “invalid marriages” are entitled to a share of their parents’ property, the Supreme Court said on Friday, explaining that the law gives such children legitimacy. They can, however, claim rights under Hindu inheritance law alone, the court said. Significantly, this reverses the court’s earlier findings that children of “invalid marriages” could only have rights to property acquired by their parents and not to ancestral property.
A three-judge tribunal headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud was hearing a plea against a two-judge tribunal’s ruling in a 2011 case that children from ‘invalid marriages’ have the right to inherit properties of their parents, whether they are self-acquired. or ancestral.
“A child born of a void or voidable marriage has no right to claim the inheritance of ancestral co-percenary property, but only has the right to claim a share of the property he has acquired, if any”, had then declared the court quashing a Madras High Court judgment which held that children born of a residential relationship are entitled to a share of ancestral property.
The court then also said that the provisions in question made it clear that a child of a “void or voidable marriage” could only claim rights to the property of his parents, and no one else.
READ | Can children out of wedlock claim ancestral property? The Supreme Court reserves its verdict
Earlier this month, a court headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud reserved its verdict on the plea, asking whether children from ‘invalid marriages’ were entitled to a share of parents’ ancestral property under Hindu laws. . The court also had to decide whether these actions were limited to only property acquired by the parents, as provided for in the relevant sections of the Hindu Marriage Act.
According to Hindu law, in a ‘void’ marriage, the parties do not have the status of ‘husband’ or ‘wife’. However, by law, they have that status in a “voidable” marriage. Also, in a “null” marriage, no judgment of nullity is required to annul the marriage. However, in a “voidable” marriage, such a judgment of nullity is required.