Delhi High Court has ruled that authorities could not insist for one’s biological father in passport as mother’s name was sufficient in certain cases where she was a single parent.
Justice Manmohan said, “In the absence of any provision making it mandatory to mention the name of one’s biological father in the passport, the respondents (passport authorities) cannot insist upon the same.”
The HC, according to PTI report, also took note of the fact that the number of single parents was increasing in India due to various reasons “like unwed mothers, sex workers, surrogate mothers, rape survivors, children abandoned by father and also children born through IVF (in vitro fertilisation) technology.”
The court said, “Consequently, this court is of the view that mother’s name is sufficient in certain cases like the present one to apply for passport, especially as a single woman can be a natural guardian and also a parent.”
A woman had filed a plea seeking re-issuance of her daughter’s passport without insisting upon her father’s name being mentioned in the application.
The woman claimed that she was divorced from her husband, who had refused to accept her daughter as she was a girl. The applicant said that she was a single parent since her daughter’s birth in 1997.
She contended that insistence of passport authority on mentioning father’s name in the application violated the rights of her daughter to determine her name and identity.
The woman also said that entire record of her daughter, including her educational certificates, did not bear the name of her father and the passport authority had in 2005 and subsequently in 2011 issued a passport without insisting upon the father’s name.
The lawyer representing the regional passport officer said that the computerised passport application form had a column regarding father’s name and it must be filled. To which, the court the RPO to modify their software saying, “technology is intended to ease and facilitate transactions and cannot be the basis for creating and defeating anybody’s legal rights.”
The court also observed that authorities could insist for the name of biological father in the passport “only if it is a requirement in law, like standing instructions, manuals etc.”