|No provision in syariah for love child, say lawyers|
|Wednesday, 19 September 2012 09:56am|
©The New Straits Times (Used by permission)
KUALA LUMPUR: Under syariah, a man is not compelled to provide maintenance for a child born out of wedlock, even if he was proven to be the biological father, said Syariah Lawyers Association president Musa Awang.
"The man is not recognised as the father of an illegitimate child under syariah and only the mother has legal rights over the child."
Musa added that children born out of wedlock were not accorded rights to use their father's name or assume the family identity. Likewise, an illegitimate child would not get an inheritance from him.
"There is no provision in Islamic law compelling the biological father to provide for the child or allow the mother to request for it in court."
Syariah lawyer Nizam Bashir said while civil law provided for maintenance by the father, such provision was not available in Islamic law.
The Married Women And Children (Maintenance) Act 1950 stated that the mother of a child (whether legitimate or not) could make a request to the court for child maintenance from the father.
The Act went on to emphasise: "If any person neglects or refuses to maintain an illegitimate child of his, which is unable to maintain itself, a court, upon due proof thereof, may order such person to make such monthly allowance, as to the court seems reasonable."
The New Straits Times yesterday also spoke to a number of legal experts to find out if fathers of illegitimate children could be charged in cases of baby dumping.
This followed the latest incident of a woman suspected to have thrown her newborn baby out of a three-storey flat on Sunday.
Despite strong opinion that the father of illegitimate child should also be brought to court, legal experts said the reality was complicated.
A criminal offence constituted action and a sane mind, which meant that if the father was not involved in the act that caused the infant's death, he could not be charged under the penal code, lawyers said.
A lawyer told the NST that generally, the father must have prior knowledge of the intention to dump a child before he could be charged in court.
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