In a significant verdict on the rights of the children of a Muslim father in his property, the Supreme Court has held that none of his sons or daughters can relinquish right in the property under the Mullah’s Principle of Mohammedan Law. According to “paragraph-54” of the MPML a Muslim heir “is not entitled in law to relinquish
an expected share in father’s property”. While applying the principle in a property dispute between three sons and three daughters of Meeralava Rawther from Kerala, who died in 1986, a bench of Justices Altamas Kabir, Cyriac Joseph and S.S. Nijjar said, “A Mohammedan cannot by will dispose off more than a third of his estate after payment of funeral expenses and it is being avoided by the consent of all the heirs. In effect, the same also amounts to a right of relinquishment of future inheritance, which is on one hand forbidden and on the other accepted in the case of testamentary disposition.”
On “testamentary disposition”, the top court explained that under the MPML “a Muslim may make a disposition of his entire property if all the heirs signified their express or implied consent.” But after his death, no single heir could claim that the father had disposed the property in his or her favour during his lifetime. Acceptance of such a doctrine would go against the “public policy” guiding the Mohammedan Law.
“Having accepted the consideration for having relinquished a future claim or share in the estate of the deceased it would be against public policy if such a claimant be allowed the benefit of succession,” the top court said.
“In such cases, we have no doubt in our mind that the principle of estoppel would be attracted (to stop any such succession)” the three judges unanimously ruled.
They said, “The Mohammedan law enjoins in clear and unequivocal terms that a chance of a Mohammedan heir-apparent succeeding to an estate cannot be the subject of a valid transfer or release” as the provision of the Transfer of Property Act would not apply in such cases. Asian Age