Progressive ruling: SC order on property entitlement rights a wrong - The Tribune India

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Progressive ruling

SC order on property entitlement rights a wrong

Progressive ruling

Photo for representation. File photo



IN a progressive judgment, a Bench of the Supreme Court has clarified that under the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, children ‘born out of void or voidable marriages’ are entitled to a share in their parents’ property, whether self-acquired or ancestral. The ruling lays to rest an issue that has seen contrasting verdicts in courts with regard to such children’s right to inherit ancestral property, even as the rulings were in sync on the acquired property of the parents. It’s a sound argument that children born out of marriages declared void are deemed legitimate under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and thus they should also have the right to inherit property. Indeed, it would be unfair to disentitle them from a share in the property of their parents.

Significantly, in a 2011 hearing of the same case, the apex court had similarly displayed a liberal and broadminded stance as it ruled that the meaning of ‘legitimacy’ changes with changing social norms, and that the law could not afford to remain static. It is time that the ambit of such progressive judicial orders is broadened so that they are applicable to all citizens and not confined to certain communities.

With live-in relationships becoming increasingly common and even the LGBTQ community finding greater acceptance in India, the moral police and various religious organisations would do well to evolve with the times and be more accommodating of the changing norms. Only then are they likely to remain relevant, especially for the younger generation. While commendable strides have been made in this direction, a lot of ground still needs to be covered.

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