Dead mans DNA proves paternity should illegitimate child be entitled to property
news Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - 05:30
A poor Dalit woman’s 20-year-battle for justice for herself and her son, who was born out of wedlock with an upper caste man, has now ended in disappointment. A court in Kozhikode district has ruled that an illegitimate child could not be given a share of the father’s property under Hindu law. The court was hearing the case of Karthyayini, who had filed a case seeking a share of Sri’s (name changed) property over a year ago. The News Minute had reported that Karthyayani’s situation may be the only case of its kind in Indian legal history. Having fallen in love with Sri, an upper caste man as a young woman, she had a child with him but he later refused to marry her as she belonged to a Scheduled Caste. She sought to prove Sri’s paternity when her son Rathin began to ask her questions about his father, but Sri would have nothing to do with them. Despite repeated attempts, Sri refused to accept responsibility for either Kathyayini or the child.On the basis of her complaint, the state women’s commission ordered a DNA test, but Sri did not appear even though the dates for the test were communicated to him. Finally, he committed suicide, and the DNA sample was taken from his dead body, and his paternity was confirmed. Read: A rare case in Indian legal history: Dead man's DNA samples taken for paternity suit Despite having won this battle, the court on Tuesday, dashed Karthyayini’s hopes for justice when it rejected her demand for a share of Sri’s property, saying that the illegitimate child was not entitled to neither the father’s ancestral property nor self-acquired property.But this has however, raised a question on the rights of the woman and a child who was born out of wedlock, and sanctity of marriage that the law seeks to uphold. Kathiyayani's advocate Vinod Cheriyan is not happy with the ruling. He said: “There is a need to take a re-look at such laws. According to the CrPC, an illegitimate child who has not attained majority, or a child who has attained majority but cannot maintain himself/herself should be paid maintenance. So why does the Hindu Succession Act not allow an illegitimate child to inherit property?". Senior advocate Sudha Ramalingam however, drew a distinction between the ancestral property and self-acquired property of an individual and the possible claimants to both. Calling the act “just”, she said: “These laws also need to protect the sanctity of marriage. It is only fair that an illegitimate child is allowed to inherit the father's self-acquired property and not ancestral property.”
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