Bakhromjon Mukhammadiyev

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Singer Botir Kodirov – son of the famous, late artist Sherali Juraev has attracted widespread public attention in social networks. Currently, a trial to establish the fact of paternity is underway in the Uchtepa Inter-District Civil Court of Tashkent City. Shokhjahon and Zokhirshokh Dzhurayev, children of Sherali Dzhurayev known to the public, are participating in this trial as defendants. This case is one of the most famous cases related to artists in Uzbekistan, and in this blog article, I will try to systematically analyze the procedural and substantive issues in civil law and show what legal consequences will be revealed.

First, I will present the Uzbek legal system on fact-finding and paternity. After that, despite the fact that Botir Kodirov has stated that he does not claim inheritance if the fact of paternity is established, I will examine what rights he actually has under the law and then give a proposal to the law and a conclusion.

2.Facts of the case

On March 19, 2024, singer Botir Kodirov filed a civil suit in the Ukhtep inter-district civil court to establish the fact of paternity. The reason for this was that his mother’s honor was tarnished.  During his lifetime, the late singer Sherali Dzhurayev publicly indirectly stated that Botir Kodirov was not his son. However, in a recent interview, Botir Kodirov spoke highly of his relationship with his father, Sherali Dzhurayev.

According to the publicized information, the conclusion of the specialist of the Republican Center of Forensic Expertise was attached to the lawsuit. In the attachment there is a conclusion that Khalimjon Nurmatov (Sherali Dzhuraev’s younger brother) is Botir Kodirov’s uncle. Forensic experts confirmed with 94% accuracy that they are uncle and nephew.  On February 26, 2008, Botir Kodirov changed his surname from “Dzhuraev” to “Kodirov” in the registry office, and his father’s surname from “Sherali Ugli (son)” to “Sheralievich”.

At present, the court continues the trial in closed mode.

3. Establishment of paternity under Uzbek law

The establishment of paternity is decided on the basis of the Family Code and the Resolution of the Plenum of the Supreme Court “On the Application of Legislation by the Courts in the Consideration of Cases on the Establishment of Paternity”. Accordingly, claims to establish paternity have no statute of limitations; in the event of a dispute, paternity is established in court.

Articles 61 and 62 of the Family Code of the Russian Federation state that the paternity of a person who is not married to the child’s mother is established on the basis of a statement submitted jointly to the civil registry office by the person who recognizes himself as the child’s father and the mother. Paternity is established in a judicial procedure on the basis of an application by one of the parents, the child’s guardian (custodian) or the person in whose care the child is, as well as on the basis of an application filed by the child upon reaching the age of majority.

Decisions to establish the fact of paternity must be based on information that has been thoroughly verified by the court and confirms or refutes the claims made (20th paragraph of the Supreme Court Decision). When establishing paternity, the court shall take into account: that the mother of the child lived with the defendant before the birth of the child and maintained a joint household; that they brought up or maintained the child together; other evidence that unconditionally confirms the defendant’s recognition of paternity (Article 62 of the Family Code).

In the case of the death of a person who is not married to the child’s mother, the court has the right to establish the fact of paternity, i.e. the fact of the child’s descent from this person. In respect of children born after 1968, the fact of paternity may be established only if there is evidence which reliably confirms at least one of the above conditions. (18th paragraph of the Decision)

Other evidence confirming the recognition of paternity by the defendant should be understood as any factual data recognized by the court as reliable, such as letters, audio, video recordings, expert reports, and witness testimony.

If the court concludes that the totality of the evidence presented is insufficient to establish the paternity of the defendant, then, in order to establish the truth and to avoid errors, on its own initiative or at the request of the parties, the relevant court shall conduct a forensic biological examination of human DNA (15th paragraph of the Decision). In practice, human DNA examination is often ordered by the court when the defendant does not recognize the claim (paternity).

The family case of Botir Kodirov v. Juraev?

Botir Kodirov, as the eldest child, has the right to file a lawsuit in court to establish paternity. The problem is that both the plaintiff’s mother and the man he believes to be his father are dead. The court takes into account the circumstances of the case, including the fact that Botir Kodirov lived with his late mother and the late artist Sherali Dzhuraev, and that Sherali Dzhuraev supported Botir Kodirov. In the present case, because both Botir Kodirov’s mother and Sherali Dzhuraev are deceased, the court may rely on the testimony of witnesses, photographs, video recordings and a copy of the marriage contract between Sherali Dzhuraev and Botir Kodirov’s mother in reaching its decision. (In one of his interviews, Botir Kodirov stated that his mother and Sherali Dzhuraev lived on the basis of a legal marriage, so a copy of the marriage contract is kept in the KRA archives).  In addition, if the court does not find this evidence sufficient, in order to avoid errors, it may clarify by conducting a biological DNA examination between the relatives of Sherali Dzhuraev and Botir Kodirov.

 After the establishment of paternity in the above order, Botir Kodirov will have equal rights and obligations with other children of Sherali Juraev in the matter of inheritance.

4. If Botir Kodirov turns out to be Sherali Juraev’s child?

4.1. Change of surname

If Botir Kodirov wins, he can directly take his father’s surname. Since Sherali Juraev is a well-known artist in Uzbekistan, Botir Kodirov’s change to Sherali Juraev’s surname may in a sense enhance his reputation. However, in an interview, the plaintiff noted that he had no such plans. Taking his share from the inheritance.

Recognition of Botir Kodirov as a child of Sherali Juraev entitles him to share the inheritance equally with other children of Sherali Juraev. Botir Kodirov stated that if paternity is established, he will not claim for inheritance. But if the fact of paternity is established, then, according to the law, he will have the right not only to a share of the inheritance, but also to freely perform songs under the authorship of Sherali Dzhurayev. In addition, he will be able to control these songs so that they are not used by others in violation of the law, as the son of Sherali Dzhurayev (copyright after the death of the author is protected for 70 years (article 1065 of Civil Code)). After all, Article 36 of the Law “On Copyright and Related Rights” states that the property rights of the author are inherited. According to it, the heirs of the author have the right to copyright protection. If there are several heirs, the order of use of the work is determined by agreement between them. At the same time, none of the heirs has the right to prohibit the other heirs from using the work without sufficient grounds.

4.2. Participation in public events related to the memory of Sherali Dzhurayev.

Botir Kodirov said in one of his interviews that he could not even attend the funeral of Sherali Dzhurayev because of the criticism of Sherali Dzhurayev’s children. This undoubtedly caused him moral damage. The establishment of Sherali Dzhurayev’s paternity entitles him to directly participate as a child in events dedicated to the memory of Sherali Dzhurayev. As a result, Botir Kodirov can perform his duty unhindered.

4.3. If Botir Kodirov loses the case?

If Botir Kodirov loses the case, he will not be entitled to receive a share of the inheritance left by Sherali Dzhurayev and will not be able to use the songs written by Sherali Dzhurayev. Besides, according to Botir Qodirov, so far Sherali Dzhurayev’s children have warned him that he is violating copyright by performing Sherali Dzhurayev’s songs. It is clear that if Botir Kodirov loses the case, the defendants may impose a stricter ban on Botir Kodirov performing his father’s songs because of his claims.

In the end, I must say that the above analysis cannot decide Botir Kodirov’s case because we do not have specific factual information about this case. I have only analyzed this case based on the public information that has been made public. I hope that soon the public will know the true decision of the judge of the Uchtepa inter-district Civil Court.

Cite as:  Bakhromjon Mukhammadiyev, “What will Botir Kodirov gain from the establishment of paternity?”, Uzbekistan Law Blog, 04.07.2024.