Hearing a petition filed by a 67 year old lady who was divorced from her husband in 2003, the Bombay High Court has taken a view that “There is no law which prevents a wife from using her name adopted after the marriage containing the name and surname of her husband even after a decree of divorce is passed by a Court of competent jurisdiction.”
The lady had applied for renewal of her passport, after which the Passport Office wrote back to her, saying, “Since you are a divorcee and using the surname of your ex-husband, you are requested to submit No objection certificate from him to use his surname.”
Thereafter, the matter reached the High Court wherein the division Bench of Justice Oka and Justice A.K. Menon pronounced that, “In fact, it is the right of the petitioner to use anyname, including the name of her divorced husband.Therefore, in our view, the direction issued by the passportauthorities to obtain No objection certificate from the exhusband is completely illegal. Right to obtain passport in accordance with law is held to be a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution. The impugned communicationbeing illegal violates the said right. In fact, the approach ofthe passport officer is perverse.”
According, the communication by passport office was set aside, and it was ordered that if the application for renewal is still pending, it should be decided on merits, within a month.
Interestingly, no one appeared from the side of Passports Officer or the Union of India in the case.
Read the Judgment here.