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'Infringes Right To Privacy Of Single Mothers': Plea Filed In Kerala High Court Against Rule Requiring Father's Name In Birth Certificates

Hannah M Varghese
23 July 2021 5:42 AM GMT
Infringes Right To Privacy Of Single Mothers: Plea Filed In Kerala High Court Against Rule Requiring Fathers Name In Birth Certificates
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A plea has been filed before the Kerala High Court challenging the Kerala Registration of Birth and Deaths Rules insofar as it mandates the mention of father's name to register a child's birth. The case in a nutshell is that such a stipulation is discriminatory to single mothers. The petitioner became pregnant through artificial insemination which involves accepting the sperm from a...

A plea has been filed before the Kerala High Court challenging the Kerala Registration of Birth and Deaths Rules insofar as it mandates the mention of father's name to register a child's birth. The case in a nutshell is that such a stipulation is discriminatory to single mothers. 

The petitioner became pregnant through artificial insemination which involves accepting the sperm from a donor whose identity has to be kept confidential. She has preferred this petition aggrieved by the requirement to give the details of the father of the child to register their birth/death as per the Rules.

Advocate Aruna A will be appearing on behalf of the petitioner. 

She alleges that a perusal of forms 1-9 of the aforementioned Rules would show that they are unjust, illegal, and arbitrary from the perspective of single mothers and children born to single mothers. The forms only have a provision to show the name of the father, and this insistence on the name of a father was asserted to be illegal for the reason that it was impossible. 

Although the petitioner was once married, she has separated from her husband and the father of the child is not her former husband. The petitioner herself is not aware of the details of the anonymous donor, therefore, requiring his details for registration of the child's birth is unconstitutional, she has submitted.

She argues that this infringes her right to privacy and right to equality. It is also contended that such a provision is ultra vires to the Registration of Births and Deaths Act. 

Moreover, she has submitted that the exclusion of a mother's details from the birth and death certificates of a child/person is discrimination based on sex and thus arbitrary and violative of Article 14. 

"A woman in India, who has crossed the age of 18 years has the right to become pregnant through an IVF procedure accepting sperm of an anonymous donor like the petitioner did. Therefore, the laws of the land should also recognise the right of a woman to raise her child as a single mother, especially in situations where the name of the father/sperm donor can not be disclosed," the petition read.  

Reliance is placed on ABC v. State (NCT of Delhi) [(2015) 10 SCC 1] and Mathumitha Ramesh v. Chief health Officer and Ors [2018 SCC OnLine Mad 2153] to assert that the rights of a single mother have been recognised by the Apex Court as well as various High Courts.

It is also argued that leaving the field requiring the father's details blank on the certificate would infringe the right to privacy of the petitioner as well as her child since the fact that the child was born out of wedlock is intimate private information. 

As such, the petitioner has prayed that the column requiring the father's details be removed from the birth certificates of a child born to a single mother.

Case Title: X v. State of Kerala & Ors.

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