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'There May be Illegitimate Parents, But Not Children': Karnataka HC on Plea for Compassionate Appointment

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

The bench observed that law should recognise the fact that there may be illegitimate parents, but no illegitimate children because “a child has no role to play in his or her birth.”

“No child is born in this world without a father and a mother. There may be illegitimate parents, but no illegitimate children,” the Karnataka high court on Wednesday observed on a petition from a man seeking compassionate appointment as a dependent son following his father’s death.

A division bench headed by Justice BV Nagarathna overruled a circular issued by the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL) on September 23, 2011, and said that law should recognise the fact that there may be illegitimate parents, but no illegitimate children because “a child has no role to play in his or her birth.”

In one of the clauses of the KPCL’s circular, it was mentioned that the second wife or her children of employees are not eligible for compassionate grounds appointment if the marriage has taken place during the subsistence of first marriage.

Directing the KPCL to consider the petitioner, K Santosha’s application for compassionate appointment in two months’ time, the bench observed, “No child is born in this world without a father and a mother. A child has no role to play in his/her birth. Hence, law should recognise…there may be illegitimate parents, but no illegitimate children.”

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“Therefore, it is for Parliament to bring about uniformity in law vis-à-vis legitimacy of children. Thus, it is for Parliament to determine in what way protection could be extended to children born outside a valid marriage," it said.

Further, the bench pointed out that insofar as the appointment on compassionate basis is concerned, “children born out of void and voidable marriages, under other personal laws where there is no provision for conferment of legitimacy, also have equal protection of the law."

During the ruling, the bench referred to the Supreme Court’s judgment in VR Tripathi case, and said it is “necessary to protect rights of all such children in all religions, vis-a-vis compassionate appointment.”

Santosh’s petitions were not allowed by the single judge bench of the high court. However, the divisional bench allowed the petition and addressed the grievance.

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first published:July 15, 2021, 12:58 IST