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News : Supreme Court Unveils Landmark Verdict: Unlocking Property Rights for Children Born in Live-In Relationships!

Supreme Court Grants Rights to Children of Live-in Couples for Ancestral Property

In a recent case of KATTUKANDI EDATHIL KRISHNAN & ANR. vs KATTUKANDI EDATHIL VALSAN & ORS., the Supreme Court has made a significant ruling. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Property Dispute: The case revolved around a property dispute in Kerala, India.
  • Kerala High Court’s Decision: In 2009, the Kerala High Court denied ancestral property rights to the son of a man and woman living in a live-in relationship.
  • Supreme Court’s Decision: The Supreme Court overturned the Kerala High Court’s decision and stated that the son cannot be deprived of the right to inherit ancestral property.
  • Parties Involved: The property in question belonged to Kattukandi Idhatil Colonel Vaidyar, and his four sons were Damodaran, Achyutan, Shekaran, and Narayan.
  • Petitioner and Respondent: The petitioner claimed to be Damodaran’s son, while the respondent, Karunakaran, claimed to be Achuthan’s son. Shekharan and Narayan passed away unmarried.
  • Claim and Argument: Karunakaran argued that the petitioner’s mother never married Damodaran, making him an illegitimate child who should not have rights to the property.
  • Trial Court’s Verdict: The trial court, considering Damodaran and Chiruthakutty had lived together for a long time, assumed their marriage and divided the property into two parts.
  • Kerala High Court’s Ruling: The Kerala High Court found no evidence of Damodaran and Chiruthakutty’s long-term cohabitation and declared the petitioner as Damodaran’s son but not a legitimate child entitled to the property.
  • Supreme Court’s Decision: The Supreme Court observed that Damodaran and Chiruthakutty had lived together as husband and wife for a considerable period. It cited Section 114 of the Evidence Act, allowing such assumptions. However, the presumption could be disproved by proving that marriage didn’t take place despite the long-term cohabitation.
  • Consequences of the Decision: While live-in relationships are legal in India, children born in such relationships were previously denied rights to ancestral property. With the Supreme Court’s ruling, children born to live-in couples will now have equal rights to ancestral property.
  • Ancestral Property: Ancestral property refers to inherited property. If a person dies without a will, their heirs have equal rights to ancestral property.
  • Rights of Heirs: Both the Hindu Succession Act and the Indian Succession Act apply to this case. Hindu male heirs now have equal rights to ancestral property, and selling ancestral property without the heirs’ consent is prohibited.
  • Equal Rights for Sons and Daughters: Before 2005, only sons had rights to ancestral property, but now daughters have equal rights. For example, a grandson will have a rightful claim to the property.
  • Legal Implications: This decision by the Supreme Court brings a significant change in the inheritance rights of children from live-in relationships, ensuring equal entitlement to ancestral property.

With this ruling, the Supreme Court has expanded the rights of children in live-in relationships, enabling them to inherit ancestral property on an equal footing.

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