In what is considered to be an important judgement, the Supreme Court on 22nd January said that that a marriage of a Hindu woman with a Muslim man is not a “regular or valid”. Also, the Supreme Court added that the child born out of such marriage is legitimate just like in the case of a valid marriage
So now the question is will the wife hold any right over her husband’s property. On this the supreme court said that a wife cannot inherit her husband’s property but is entitled to get dower.
The bench that had Justices NV Ramana and MM Shantanagoudar made the above statement while passing a judgement on Mohammed Ilias and Valliamma (who was Hindu at the time of marriage) and said ruled that the son of a couple was legitimate.
The bench said “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 added “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”.
It further said “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 court picked up this matter after the cousins of Shamsuddin said that he can’t have access to his father’s property as his mother Valliamma, who was a Hindu. The bench stated “He (Shamsuddin) is the legitimate son of Mohammed Ilias, and consequently is entitled to inherit the shares claimed in the estate of his father. 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”.