Rights And Status Of Illegitimate Children In India

Avani Maheshwari, NMIMS’s School of Law, Mumbai


There is an ever-increasing concern and awareness for the welfare of children at the national and international levels by way of national policies, constitutional provisions and international conventions. Every child needs protection and special care but some children are more vulnerable than other children because of their cultural or socio-economic conditions. Children that are born to people whose relationship is not legally and socially recognized is one such category who suffer legal discrimination and social disapproval. The expression used for these children is illegitimate. The term is derived from “illegitimus” which means something which is not in accordance with law. Although there are differences in societies on the basis of cultural and social traditions, there has been universal disapproval of children born outside the marriage. The children that are born out of a valid marriage comes under the sort of “Honest to Goodness”. They are born out of a valid marriage and therefore there are no issues regarding their legal rights while there are a ton of issues in relation to rights of illegitimate children. With the intention of bringing social reform and removing stigma attached with illegitimate mark there was an amendment in Hindu Marriage Act. For so many years, the right to succeed to the property by illegitimate children has been a question of debate. Under all kinds of societies, the status of an illegitimate child has consequences. Children born out of live-in relationships or extra marital affairs are thought of as sin to the society. There are personal laws for every religion and the right of illegitimate children and legitimate children with respect to inheritance is different under each law. Illegitimate children were declared “filius nullius” by the English Common law then they slowly modified the stance and the concept of “parental responsibility” was introduced. The paper is aimed at determining the rights of illegitimate children in India with respect to property, maintenance and guardianship.

Indian Journal of Law and Legal Research

Abbreviation: IJLLR

ISSN: 2582-8878

Website: www.ijllr.com

Accessibility: Open Access

License: Creative Commons 4.0

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