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REVANASIDDAPPA V. MALLIKARJUN

Revanasiddappa and Anr. v. Mallikarjun and Ors. (2011) 11 SCC 1

ISSUE:

  • Whether illegitimate children are entitled to a share in the coparcenary property or whether their share is limited only to the self-acquired property of their parents under Section 16(3) of the Hindu Marriage Act?

RULE:

  • Section 16(3) as amended, does not impose any restriction on the property right of such children except limiting it to the property of their parents. Therefore, such children will have a right to whatever becomes the property of their parents whether self-acquired or ancestral.

FACTS:

  • The first defendant had two wives- the third plaintiff (the first wife) and the fourth defendant (the second wife). The first defendant had two children from the first wife, the third plaintiff, namely, the first and second plaintiffs; and another two children from his second wife, the fourth defendant namely, the second and third defendant.
  • The plaintiffs (first wife and her two children) had filed a suit for partition and separate possession against the defendants for their 1/4th share each with respect to ancestral property which had been given to the first defendant by way of grant.
  • The Trial Court held that the first defendant had not been able to prove oral partition nor that he had divorced the third plaintiff. The second marriage of the first defendant with the fourth defendant was found to be void, as it had been conducted while his first marriage was still legally subsisting. The Court further held that the third plaintiff was the legally wedded wife of the first defendant and thus was entitled to claim partition.
  • On a first appeal before the High Court, it was held that children born from a void marriage were to be treated at par with coparceners and they were also entitled to the joint family properties of the first defendant. The Court held that the plaintiffs along with the first, second and third defendants were entitled to equal share of 1/6th each in the ancestral properties.
  • On a second appeal before the High Court, it was observed that both the lower courts had concurrently concluded that the fourth defendant was the second wife of the first defendant. Therefore, the second and third defendants were illegitimate children from a void marriage. Section 16(3) of the Hindu Marriage Act makes it clear that illegitimate children only had the right to the property of their parents and no one else.
  • The High Court allowed the appeal and held that the first plaintiff, second plaintiff and the first defendant would be entitled to 1/3rd share each in the suit properties. The claim of the third plaintiff and the second, third and fourth defendants in the suit property was rejected.

HELD:

  • The Supreme Court was of the opinion that the matters should be reconsidered by a larger Bench and for that purpose the records of the case be placed before the Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India for constitution of a larger Bench.