16 Sep 2023 4:15 AM GMT
Expressing surprise at the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation’s unwillingness to correct the father’s name on the birth certificate of a 3-year-old, the Bombay High Court directed the Municipal body to immediately replace the woman’s ex-husband’s name with the child’s biological father’s name on the birth certificate.“We confess we are unable to understand the approach of...
Expressing surprise at the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation’s unwillingness to correct the father’s name on the birth certificate of a 3-year-old, the Bombay High Court directed the Municipal body to immediately replace the woman’s ex-husband’s name with the child’s biological father’s name on the birth certificate.
“We confess we are unable to understand the approach of the Municipal Corporation and, for that matter, that of the JMFC,” Justice GS Patel and Kamal Khata observed regarding the mother’s failed attempts before the NMMC and magistrate.
The facts in this case are exceedingly peculiar. The petitioner mother converted from Islam to Hinduism before her marriage to Mr. P in 2017. Owning to their differences the couple separate in June 2018 and filed for divorce by mutual consent.
However, before the divorce came through in February 2021, the woman entered into a relationship with another Mr R, conceived and delivered a child. As luck would have it, at the time of her delivery her husband Mr. P took her to the hospital and inadvertently his name was entered as the ‘husband’ and ‘father of the child’ in hospital records and the birth certificate.
After the woman noticed this error in the birth certificate, she approached Corporation to change the father’s name but in vain. The Corporation told her there was no provision to change the name of the father. She then approached the Judicial Magistrate First Class at CBD, Belapur. The Magistrate passed an order in April, 2023 but declined to grant relief.
Advocate Uday Warunjikar for the petitioner cited the Supreme Court judgement in ABC v State (NCT of Delhi) where in the SC said that whenever a single parent or an unwed mother applies for a birth certificate the only requirement should be that she should furnish an affidavit to that effect.
He also cited a 2018 judgement of the Bombay High Court that allowed an unwed mother’s plea to drop the sperm donor’s name from the birth certificate.
The High Court observed these case laws couldn’t have been overlooked by the NMMC and JMFC. “This is the binding law declared by the Supreme Court and the Bombay High Court. The Municipal Corporation is not at liberty to say “there is no law.” There is indeed a law.”
The court accordingly directed the NMMC to issue a fresh birth certificate for the child with his biological father’s name.
Having regard to these circumstances, we have no hesitation in making Rule absolute and directing the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation to immediately issue a birth certificate in the name of V showing his father’s name as