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Rohit may not be legitimate enough to inherit ND Tiwari’s property

DEHRADUN: Veteran Congress leader ND Tiwari may have accepted Rohit Shekhar as his biological son in a TV interview, but according to legal experts, the “confession” does not necessarily mean that Rohit now has a claim over Tiwari’s ancestral property estimated to be worth several hundred crores.

There are many hurdles to be cleared before this happens since the law doesn’t recognize him as Tiwari’s legitimate son. “Whether or not the 34-year-old would be entitled to share or inherit the ancestral properties of his biological father is an unanswered question in the laws that govern Hindu social relationships and inheritance in India,” said Sudhir Kumar, senior advocate in the Uttarakhand high court.

Rohit was conceived in the late 1970s, when his mother Ujjwala was still married to Bipin Sharma, whom she divorced in 2006. Experts say that there is still not much clarity about the rights of a child born out of such “walk in and walk out” relationships where a DNA test proves the biological relationship between the child and the father although the mother was in a subsisting legal married relationship with another man.

A crucial pre-condition for a child born from a live-in relationship to be not treated as illegitimate is that the parents must have lived under the same roof and co-habited for a considerably long time for society to recognize them as husband and wife – a condition which was not fulfilled in Tiwari and Ujjwala’s case.

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