There May Be Illegitimate Parents But No Illegitimate Children:K’taka HC

Bengaluru- The Karnataka High Court has held that there may be illegitimate parents but no illegitimate children, because a child has no role to play in his or her birth.

A division bench of Justices B V Nagarathna and Hanchate Sanjeevkumar made the observation recently while setting aside a single judge order, quashing a petition by K Santosha seeking a job in the state-run Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) on compassionate grounds, following the death of his father

After the death of his father, a lineman grade-2, in 2014, Santosha had applied for appointment on compassionate grounds.

However, the petitioner was born out of second marriage when the first marriage was in subsistence, which was against the policy of the BESCOM.

Hence, his application was rejected by the company.

The petitioner then approached the High Court and his plea was rejected by a single judge.

While setting aside the single judge order, the division bench noted, “We add that no child is born in this world without a father and a mother. A child has no role to play in his or her birth. Hence, the law should recognise the fact that there may be illegitimate parents, but no illegitimate children.”

It is for the Parliament to bring about uniformity in law vis-a-vis legitimacy of children and to determine in what way protection could be extended to children born outside a valid marriage, the bench pointed out.

“For the limited purpose of this case, we find that children born out of void and voidable marriages under other personal laws, where there is no provision for conferment of legitimacy, must also have equal protection of the law by treating them on a par with children born of out of void and voidable marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act or the Special Marriage Act, 1954 insofar as the appointment on compassionate basis is concerned,” the bench observed.

It then directed the company to consider the petitioner’s job application in accordance with the law and the observation made by it.

The court also quashed a clause in the electricity department’s circular with respect to the appointment of children born out of second marriage, issued on September 23, 2011.

According to the clause, the second wife or her children are not eligible for compassionate ground appointment, if the marriage has taken place during the subsistence of the first marriage. 

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