A child born out of a marriage between a Muslim man and a Hindu woman is a legitimate one and is entitled to a share in his father’s property, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.
A bench of Justices N V Ramana and Mohan M Shantanagoudar held that though such a marriage was neither valid nor void but an “irregular” one as per Mohammedan law, the child born out of it is legitimate.
The court, which delved into Mohammedan law, said, “Thus, based on the above consistent view, we conclude that the marriage of a Muslim man with an idolater or fireworshipper is neither a valid (sahih) nor a void (batil) marriage, but is merely an irregular (fasid) marriage. Any child born out of such wedlock (fasid marriage) is entitled to claim a share in his father’s property.”
The bench added that “it would not be out of place to emphasise at this juncture that since Hindus are idol worshippers, which includes worship of physical images/statues through offering of flowers, adornment, etc., it is clear that the marriage of a Hindu female with a Muslim male is not a regular or valid (sahih) marriage, but merely an irregular (fasid) marriage”.
The ruling came on a petition in a property dispute between one Shamsudeen, born out of a marriage between a Muslim man, Mohammed Ilias, and a Hindu woman, Valliamma, and his cousins. The trial court and Kerala High Court held Shamsudeen is the legitimate son of Ilias and Valliamma, and is entitled to his share in the property. The cousins, however, contended that his mother was not legally wedded to Ilias and that she was a Hindu by religion at the time of marriage.
Dismissing the appeal, the Supreme Court said the conclusions of the trial Court and the High Court “were justified”.
On the rights of a woman in a Muslim-Hindu irregular marriage, the court said, “The legal effect of an irregular marriage is that in case of consummation, though the wife is entitled to get dower, she is not entitled to inherit the husband’s properties. But the child born in that marriage is legitimate just like in the case of a valid marriage, and is entitled to inherit the father’s property.”