The Delhi high court has held that in certain cases, mother’s name is sufficient for a child to apply for a passport, as a single woman can be a natural guardian as well as a parent. Justice Manmohan earlier this week directed a Regional Passport Office (RPO) to accept the application form of a girl child of a single parent (who had applied for a passport) without insisting upon mentioning her father’s name. On the insistence of the father’s name by the RPO, the parent had moved court.
In a report in The Times Of India, the court ruled that authorities “can insist upon the name of the biological father in the passport only if it is a requirement in law, like standing instructions, manuals, etc. In the absence of any provision making it mandatory to mention the name of one’s biological father in the passport, the respondents cannot insist upon the same”.
Justice Manmohan observed, “This court also takes judicial notice of the fact that families of single parents are on the increase due to various reasons like unwed mothers, sex workers, surrogate mothers, rape survivors, children abandoned by father and also children born through IVF technology.” He said just because the software of the passport office didn’t accept a single parent’s applications, it cannot become a legal requirement.
The HC also pointed out that on two previous occasions, in 2005 and 2011, the girl was issued a passport without her father’s name, which “makes it evident that the said requirement is not a legal necessity, but only a procedural formality, which cannot be the basis of rejecting her case”. The court saw merit in the argument of the petitioner that if the authorities didn’t alter their stand, her daughter would be compelled “to alter not only her name, but also her identity that she had been using since her birth-i.e. as the daughter of the petitioner No.1 rather than her biological father who had abandoned her at the time of her birth”. The father had refused to accept the child because he did not want a girl, the petition added.