HC: There may be illegitimate parents, but no illegitimate kids

“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,” the Karnataka high court has observed on a plea from a son, seeking compassionate appointment following the death of his father, a Bescom lineman.

The court quashed a circular issued by the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited on September 23, 2011, which said under no circumstances would the second wife or her children be eligible for appointment on compassionate grounds, if the marriage has taken place during the subsistence of the first marriage. Allowing the writ appeal filed by K Santhosha, a resident of Kanakapura taluk in Ramanagara taluk , a division bench headed by Justice BV Nagarathna directed the authorities to consider his application for compassionate appointment in two months’ time. The bench also noted that the provisions of Special Marriage Act, 1954 is a piece of legislation bringing about uniformity in the law relating to marriages and an example of legislation which is driven towards Uniform Civil Code as envisaged under Article 44 of the Constitution of India.

Referring to Supreme Court’s judgment in VR Tripathi case, the court said it is necessary to protect rights of all such children in all religions, vis-a-vis compassionate appointment. “It is for the Parliament to bring about uniformity in law vis-a-vis legitimacy of children. Thus, it is for the Parliament to determine in what way protection could be extended to children born outside a valid marriage,” the bench said in a judgment on June 24.

Santhosha’s father Kabbalaiah, a lineman grade-2 in Bescom, died on June 10, 2014. In March 2015, authorities cited the KPTCL circular and rejected Santhosha’s application for appointment on compassionate grounds, after which he moved the high court. A single bench dismissed his petition in December 2018 and he filed a writ appeal.

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