New Delhi: The Supreme Court ruled out a marriage between a Muslim man and a Hindu woman to be a regular one but said that children born out of the wedlock are legitimate and will have a claim over the property of their father.

Terming the marriage between a Muslim man and Hindu woman an irregular one, the apex court said, “The marriage of a Muslim man with an idolater or fire­worshipper is neither a valid (sahih) nor a void (batil) marriage but is merely an irregular (fasid) marriage. Any child born out of such wedlock (fasid marriage) is entitled to claim a share in his father’s property.”

The top court said, “The position that a marriage between a Hindu woman and Muslim man is merely irregular and the issue from such wedlock is legitimate has also been affirmed by various high courts.”

The bench of Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar in their judgment upheld an order of the trial court and that of the Kerala High Court. Speaking on behalf of the bench and explaining the marriage between the individual of the two communities to be invalid, Justice Shantanagoudar said, “It would not be out of place to emphasise at this juncture that since Hindus are idol worshippers, which includes worship of physical images/ statues through offering of flowers, adornment, etc., it is clear that the marriage of a Hindu female with a Muslim male is not a regular or valid (sahih) marriage, but merely an irregular (fasid) marriage.”

It must be noted that a wife cannot inherit the husband’s property but is entitled to get dower, ruled the Supreme Court. “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,” said the court.

The SC’s judgement came in lieu of the property dispute matter in which Shamsuddin, the son of Ilias and Valliamma, had sought to inherit the ancestral property after his father’s demise. The top court’s decision came as it upheld the plea by Mohammed Salim. Salim was born to Mohammed Ilias and Valliamma, and court described him as their legitimate child.