Delhi High Court: Only the mother’s name is sufficient to apply for a passport

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The Delhi High Court in their observation said that a single mother's name is sufficient since she can just as well be a child’s guardian

In a move that will benefit several kids of single mothers, the Delhi High Court has held that a mother’s name is sufficient to make a passport.

The court observed that a single mother can just as well be a child’s guardian.

You may be aware that the computerised passport application form has a column fill the father’s name. This falls under the category “family details.”

What the court said

Justice Manmohan gave this direction to the Regional Passport Office (RPO). He asked them to accept the application form of the girl child of a single parent without insisting upon naming her father.

The court’s ruling was quoted in the TOI. “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,” it said.

mother's name

The online passport form that asks for the ‘father’s name’ under the ‘Family details’ section

The court also said…

As quoted in the daily, 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 added that just because the software of the passport office did not accept a single parent’s applications, it couldn’t become a legal requirement.

Earlier cases where kids of single mums were issued passports

The HC pointed at two cases, in 2005 and 2011.

Both these years, the girl was issued a passport without her father’s name. The court was quoted as saying, 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.”

Regional Passport Offices’ response to the directive

The RPO was questioned by the daily and this is how they were quoted as responding:

As per the daily, the RPO cited a clause in the rule book that said “parents’ name not to be deleted from passport as a consequence of divorce” and argued it is a well-recognised principle of law that the relationship between parents and children does not get dissolved, except in cases of valid adoption.

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(News Source: TOI | Image courtesy: Immihelp, Mridula Dwivedi, GQIndia)

Written by

Deepshikha Punj