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Supreme Court says illegitimate children have share in property
A two-judge Supreme Court bench has taken a contrary view vis-a-vis previous Supreme Court judgments, which held that an illegitimate child had no rights to a share in the ancestral property of the father.
JUSTICE GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly, the two-judge bench termed the earlier verdict a “narrow” view of the Hindu Marriage Act, and the current assessment as “a beneficial legislation".
As the current view differs from the present analysis of the law, the highest court in the country asked the Chief Justice of India to asses the issue, requesting the CJI to put together a more comprehensive bench for “reconsideration” of the issue.
The Supreme Court bench said it was not willing to agree to the interpretation put down by previous Supreme Court benches on the issue, as doing so would not be agreeble to the “constitutional value enshrined in the preamble of our constitution which focuses the concept of equality and also a on individual dignity”, as reported by news outlets.
“The court has to remember that relationship between the parents may not be sanctioned by law but the birth of a child in such relationship has to be viewed independently of the relationship of the parents. A child born in such relationship is innocent and is entitled to all the rights which ere given to other children born in valid marriage,” the bench observed, reported PTI.
The bench also observed that the law did not put any binding on the rights to property of illigimate children. “Such children will have a right to whatever self acquired or ancestral,” the court said.

This change in law is commensurate with changing times, the Supreme Court bench bench observed. “With changing social norms of legitimacy in every society, including ours, what was illegitimate I the past may be legitimate today. The concept of legitimacy stems from social consensus, in the shaping of which various social groups play a vital role,” the bench said, reported PTI.
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