A child born of a marriage between a Muslim man and a Hindu woman is entitled to claim a share in their father’s property, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday. The bench comprising Justices NV Ramana and Mohan Shantanagoudar also observed that a marriage between a Muslim man and a Hindu woman is neither valid nor void, but “irregular”, Live Law reported.

“It would not be out of place to emphasise 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 marriage, but merely an irregular marriage,” the court observed. “Any child born out of such a marriage is entitled to a claim in his father’s property.”

The bench was hearing an appeal against a Kerala High Court judgement that upheld a trial court verdict, which said that since the plaintiff, Shamsudeen, is the legitimate son of Mohammed Ilias and Valliamma, he is entitled to a share of his father’s property. The defendants, who were Shamsudeen’s cousins, had claimed that since Valliamma was a Hindu, she did not have any right over Ilias’ property, and therefore her son too could not claim it, The Indian Express reported.

The court held that under Islamic law, only the child born of a marriage which is void, or out of wedlock, should be considered illegitimate, and therefore ineligible to a claim in his father’s property.

“The legal effect of an irregular marriage is that in case of consummation, though the wife is entitled to get dower, she is not entitled to inherit the husband’s properties,” the court added. “But the child born in that marriage is legitimate just like in the case of a valid marriage, and is entitled to inherit the father’s property.”