SC: Hindu-Muslim Marriage Irregular; Child born is legitimate, Entitled to Fathers Property

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Marriage is a process, by which a couple makes their relationship public, and under some circumstances legit. Marriage being different concepts for both Hindu and Muslim religions, where Hindu devotees believe the ritual to be a sacrament, on the contrary, Muslims believe it as a contract.  

But what if there is a union between a Hindu and Muslim, there are few of the options, where one person can change it to other person religion, or vice versa, or they can get their marriage registered under special marriage act, and perform the marriage rituals as they wish to. Also, the child born with under this marriage is legitimate.

 But the concept of marriage of two people with different religion has open to the creation of doubts and complications of law. For the same, the Supreme Court has been giving directions.

With the recent judgment given by the bench of Justice NV Raman and MM Shantangoudar validated the Kerala High Courts order, stating that son of a couple of different religion, where father-Mohammed Ilias is Muslim and mother-Valliamma being Hindu at the time of marriage, is legitimate.

The court also stated that the child born in this kind of marriage is entitled to inherit the property of the father.

“We conclude that the marriage of a Muslim man with an idolater or fire-worshipper is neither a valid nor a void marriage, but is merely an irregular marriage. Any child born out of such wedlock is entitled to claim a share in his father’s property,” the bench said.

The apex court clearly stated about the legal effects of an irregular marriage, where a wife cannot inherit the husband’s property but entitled to get dower.

“The legal effect of an irregular marriage is that in the case of consummation, though the wife is entitled to get dower, she is not entitled to inherit the properties of the husband. But the child born in that marriage is legitimate just like in the case of a valid marriage, and is entitled to inherit the property of the father,” said the court.

Under Muslim law, a marriage is a civil contract, said the SC, noting that there are three types of marriages – valid, irregular and void.

A void marriage is one which is unlawful in itself, the prohibition against such a marriage being perpetual and absolute. An invalid marriage is described as one which is not unlawful in itself, but unlawful for something else…(like the absence of witnesses),” the bench said.

“He (Shamsuddin) is the legitimate son of Mohammed Ilias, and consequently is entitled to inherit the shares claimed in the estate of his father,” it said.

Under these circumstances, in our considered opinion, the trial court and the high court were justified in concluding, based on the preponderance of probabilities, that Valliamma was the legally wedded wife of Mohammed Ilias, and the plaintiff (Shamshuddin) was the child born out of the said wedlock,” it held.

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