Revanasiddappa v. Mallikarjun, 2023

SC 1087, decided on 01.09.2023.


In Revanasiddappa and others versus Mallikarjun and others, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 1087 (“Revanasiddappa”), a three-judge bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India (“Court”), presided over by Chief Justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, resolved the issue of an illegitimate child’s inheritance rights to the parents’ property when their marriage is voidable under Section 12 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (“HMA”) or null and void under Section 11 of the HMA.In several cases, the common judgment and order were issued. The Hon’ble Court ruled that upon determining the rights of such parent following the mandate specified under the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 (“HSA”), a child of an “invalid marriage” is entitled to a share in the parents’ property, both self-acquired and ancestral. However, in the Hindu Mitakshara Joint Family, such a child does not grow up to be a coparcener.

Due to differing opinions expressed by two benches of the Court in Jinia Keotin v. Kumar Sitaram Manjhi, (2003) 1 SCC 730 (“Jinia Keotin”) and Revanasiddappa v. Mallik Arjun, (2011) 11 SCC 1, the reference was required. According to Jinia Keotin, a kid born out of a void and illegal marriage cannot be equated with legitimate offspring or be considered a member of a coparcenary just because Section 16 of the HMA protects them. On the other hand, Revanasiddappa ruled that an illegitimate child should not face discrimination and should have equal rights to their parents’ property, including self-acquired and ancestral property. 


  • The appellants are Shri Shivasharanappa’s illegitimate sons. 
  • Shivasharanappa’s first wife and her two sons, who are the Respondents in this case, filed a lawsuit to divide their portion of Shivasharanappa’s ancestral holdings, or “Suit Properties.” According to the first wife’s argument, Shivasharanappa wed the second wife while his first marriage was still going strong. As a result, the offspring of the second marriage are not co-owners and are not entitled to any portion of the ancestral property.
  • The first wife, her two boys, and Shivasharanappa are entitled to the suit rights, according to the trial court’s ruling in her favour. The suit properties are not subject to any claim by the illegitimate children. The Appellate Court subsequently decided that the illegitimate offspring had a right to a portion of the suit estates as well.
  • The Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka ruled in a second appeal filed by the first wife and her sons that the illegitimate children are only entitled to their father’s specific share, which is determined or ascertained upon partition, and are not entitled to a share of the coparcenary property by birth. The illegitimate offspring would be entitled to this part upon their father’s death intestate, not during his lifetime, the High Court further declared.
  • The Appellant, feeling cheated, petitioned the Honourable Supreme Court. 


The following issues were formulated by the three-judge bench:

i. If the purpose of the legislation is to give a child protected by Section 16 legal standing so that they can be considered coparceners and be eligible to receive a portion of real or fictitious coparcenary property.

ii. When does a coparcenary property pass into the parent’s ownership? 


  • A child born into a void or voidable marriage has no rights under Section 16(3) of the HMA, other than being limited to the property of their parents. The aforementioned clause grants such a child all the rights associated with legitimacy, including coparcenary powers over the father’s property. Furthermore, the term “property” is not qualified by either self-acquired or ancestor-acquired status under Section 16(3) of the HMA. 
  • Once the larger coparcenary is divided, the parent’s share of the coparcenary property is included. 
  • The goal of Section 16 is to treat all children equally, regardless of whether they are legitimate in and of themselves or because of Subsection 3 of Section 16. It also aims to eradicate the stigma that these children face. 


  • A child bestowed with legitimacy under Sections 16(1) and (2) does not have any claim to the father’s property, which was determined upon division from the larger coparcenary. It remains coparcenary property and cannot be classified as “property of the parent” under Section 16(3) of the HMA.
  • The goal of the legislation was not to alter a coparcenary’s organisational structure, but rather to simply remove the stigma attached to illegitimacy. Therefore, the only entitlement under Section 16(3) of the HMA is with regard to the parent’s self-acquired property.


The Hon’ble Court formulated its conclusions in the following terms:

  • The Court noted that the requirements of Section 16 of the HMA must be complied with by the HSA’s provisions. 
  • Thus, the Court noted that a child endowed with legal status under Section 16 of the HMA would be covered by the definition of “related by legitimate kinship” as stated in Section 3(1)(j) of the HSA. 
  • Coparcenary property interest devolution is facilitated under Section 6 of the HSA. According to Section 6(3), a Hindu’s interest in the assets of a Joint Hindu Family subject to Mitakshara Law will pass by testamentary or intestate succession rather than by survivorship upon his death.
  • According to a legal fiction put forth by Section 6(3) of the HSA, the coparcenary property will be regarded as having been divided as if a division had occurred prior to the passing of such a Hindu. Therefore, the law requires assuming a condition of events that existed just before the death of a Hindu coparcener to determine that coparcener’s interest in a coparcenary property.
  • His legal heirs, including children who have been statutorily granted legitimacy under the HMA, are now entitled to a share in the coparcenary property once the deceased’s share has been determined. This share is determined by the legal fiction prescribed under Section 6(3) of the HSA.

In conclusion, ascertaining or crystallising the parent’s part of the coparcenary property is the first step towards establishing the entitlement of a child from an invalid marriage. According to Section 6(3) of the HSA, the aforementioned determination could be made by performing a “notional partition.” All heirs, including children from “void” or “voidable” marriages, as the case may be, would be entitled to a portion in their parents’ property once the parent’s share has been determined.  

The Honourable Court did, however, make it clear that the aforementioned observations are exclusive to Joint Hindu households under Mitakshara law. 


The dual goals of protecting the rights of a child born into an “invalid” or “illegal” marriage and upholding the established principles of coparcenary or Joint Hindu Family under Mitakshara Law were both accomplished by the Hon’ble Court through this judgement, which harmonised the intrinsic provisions of the HMA and HSA. Therefore, even though an illegitimate child has been granted legitimacy and a right to their parent’s property—both ancestral and self-acquired—they do not become coparceners in the Hindu Mitakshara Joint Family and are not born with any of the rights that coparceners do.

Adv.Khanak Sharma

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