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Person has the right not to specify the name of their father in identity documents: Kerala High Court

The Kerala High Court has upheld that an individual has the Right to just specify the name of their mother on identity documents through THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE P.V.KUNHIKRISHNAN in the case of XXX v. Registrar of Births and Dead Pathanamthitta Municipality and ors. (WP(C) NO. 4262 OF 2022)

FACTS OF THE CASE:

The 2nd petitioner was a mother who conceived the 1st petitioner while she was a minor under a mysterious circumstance by an unidentified person. The petitioners filed the writ petition to expunge and remove the father’s name from the birth register maintained by the office of the 1 st respondent concerning the 1st petitioner and issue a certificate showing the mother’s name only as a single parent. Therefore the father’s name of the 1st petitioner happened to be recorded differently in different documents. The name of the mother of the 1st petitioner is correctly recorded in all identification and education certificates. In the birth registration certificate of the 1st petitioner before the Registrar of Births and Deaths, Pathanamthitta, the father’s name is recorded as “Z”.  The name of the father of the 1st petitioner is given differently in three different documents, and therefore, the father’s name is referred as “Z”, “Z1” and “Z2”

Since the paternal name of the 1st petitioner appears differently in different documents and the name is

uncertain, the petitioner did not want the father’s name to be recorded in any of the documents and certificates. Hence the 1st petitioner sent a request to the 1st respondent as well as respondents 2 to 8 request to delete the name of the father of the petitioner appears in all identity certificates, records, and databases concerning the 1st petitioner and after deleting the name of the father, to issue new corrected identity cards and certificates. 

JUDGEMENT:

The Court observed that it is the right of a person to include his mother’s name alone in the birth certificate, identity certificates and other documents. It was noted that there are children of rape victims and unwed mothers in this country. Any authority cannot curtail their right to privacy, dignity and liberty. It was stated that the State should protect citizens of all such kinds as equal to other citizens without disclosing their identity and privacy. Otherwise, they will face unimaginable mental agonies.

The Kathakali “Padham” sung by the legends like Late Kalamandalam Hyderali and Kalamandalam Gopi about the plight of Karna was quoted. It states: “We want a society with no such characters like “Karna,” who curses his life because of the insult he faced for not knowing the whereabouts of his parents. Our Constitution and the constitutional Courts will protect all of them and the new age “Karnas” can live like any other citizen with dignity and pride”.

Thus, The 1st respondent was directed to expunge and remove the father’s name from the Birth Register maintained at his office regarding the 1st petitioner and issue a certificate showing the mother’s name only as a single parent.  Furthermore,  if the petitioners produce the corrected certificate issued by the 1st respondent, respondents 2 to 8 will effect consequential expunge of the name of the father from their official records and databases.

In the light of the above discussions, the prayers in the writ petition were allowed. 

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY REETI SHETTY

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