The Supreme Court on Friday held that children born out of "void or voidable" marriages are legitimate and have rights to their parents' properties under the Hindu Succession Act, reported LiveLaw.
According to the Hindu law, the man and woman in a void marriage do not have the status of husband and wife. However, they have the status of husband and wife in a voidable marriage.
In a void marriage, no decree of nullity is required to annul the marriage. While, in a voidable marriage, a decree of nullity is required.
The Supreme Court's verdict came on a 2011 plea pertaining to the legal issue of whether non-marital children were entitled to a share in the ancestral property of their parents under Hindu laws.
"We have now formulated conclusion, 1. A child of a marriage which is null and void is statutorily conferred with the legitimacy, 2. In terms of 16(2) (of the Hindu Marriage Act) where a voidable marriage is annulled, a child begotten before degree is deemed to be legitimate," a bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud said in the judgement quoted by news platform The Indian Express.
"Equal rights have been granted to daughters in the same manner…," the bench stated.
The top court decided whether the share of such children is limited only to the self-acquired property of their parents under Section 16(3) of the Hindu Marriage Act.
These questions were referred to a larger bench by a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court on March 31, 2011.
The detailed order is awaited.