Muslim Law does not recognise the institute of adoption which is recognised by other systems.
Muslim Law recognise the institution of ‘IKRAS‘ (acknowledgement) where the paternity of a child, which means his legitimate decent from his father cannot be proved by establishing a marriage between his parents at the time of conception of birth. Muslim law recognises acknowledgement as a method where by such marriage legitimate decent can be established as a matter of substantive law for the purpose of inheritance.
Mohammed Allahdad Khan v Mohammed Ismail Khan (1887)
Justice Mehmood held that where marriage cannot be proved by direct evidence and no legitimacy be established, Muslim law prescribes a means whereby the marriage and legitimacy may be established as a matter of substantive law and that is acknowledgement of paternity.
Acknowledgement under Muslim law is a rule of Substantive Law and not a rule of evidence. It means it is not a presumption under the Evidence Act.
It confers status of sonship and rights to succeed. A child whose illegitimacy is proved by reason of the union between the parents not being lawful, such child cannot be proved by acknowledgement.
Necessity of acknowledgement of legitimacy.
When there is a direct proof of marriage and a child born out from such marriage, the question of acknowledgement does not arise because in such cases the legitimacy is ipso facto established.
If there is no such direct proof of legitimacy so legitimacy may be proved by indirect proof which is called acknowledgement.
Note: Acknowledgement is made by the father only not mother.
In other words the doctrine applies only to cases of uncertainty about the legitimacy. Acknowledgement is made on the assumption of a lawful union of the parents and the acknowledged child.
BASIC PRINCIPLES OF ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
1. Express or implied acknowledgement
It is not necessary that an acknowledgement should be express, it may also be implied. The acknowledgement may be of a son or daughter, but it must be made by the father only. The acknowledgement of the child must not be casual.
Muhammad Ali Khan vs Muhammad Ibrahim Khan 1929 PC
The father made the acknowledgement of the child in a casual manner. He never intended that his acknowledgement should have serious effects. It was held by the Privy Council that the act of the father is not sufficient to confer the status of legitimacy.
2. Age of the Acknowledger
The age of the parties must be such that it is possible that they may be father and son. According to Bailie, the acknowledger must be at least 12.5 years older than the person acknowledged.
3. The child of others
The child who is acknowledged must not be known as a child of another.
4. Offspring of Zina
An offspring of Zina is one who is born either without marriage or a mother who was the married wife of another or of void marriage.
When the man has committed Zina with a woman, and she has delivered a son, such son cannot be acknowledged. So the acknowledgement must be of the child who is offspring of a legal marriage.
5. Legal marriage possible between parents of the child acknowledged
The acknowledger and the mother of the child must have been lawfully joined in marriage at the time when the child was begotten. It is essential to show that lawful marriage is possible between the acknowledger and the mother of child. And the child is not the fruit of an adulterous intercourse. Similarly if it is definitely proved that no marriage took place between the parties, the issue will be illegitimate and the acknowledgement will be ineffective.
6. Person acknowledged should confirm acknowledgement
The child if adult, must confirm the acknowledgement.
7. Competency of the Acknowledger
The acknowledger must of competent to make a contract which means he must be major and of sound mind.
EFFECTS OF ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
Acknowledgement produces all the legal effect of a natural paternity and vests in the child the right of inheriting from the acknowledger.
In the the case of wife, which means the mother of acknowledged son, it has the effect of giving her the status of legal wife and hence the right of maintenance and inheritance.