Mother’s name is sufficient in certain cases like the present one to apply for Passport, especially as a single woman can be a natural guardian and also a parent, held the Court.
Delhi High Court has held that for issuing passport, there is no legal requirement for insisting upon the father's name of the Applicant. The Court also took 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.
Justice Manmohan has allowed the Writ Petition filed by Shalu Nigam seeking reissuance of her daughter-petitioner No.2's passport without insisting upon her father's name being mentioned in the application.
Petitioner No.1, who appeared in person, stated that she is divorced from her husband and has raised petitioner No.2 as a single parent since her birth on 24th August, 1997. She contended that the biological father had completely abdicated his responsibilities towards petitioner No.2 since her birth. She also stated that the respondents’ insistence upon petitioner No.2 mentioning her father's name in the application violated the rights of petitioner No.2 to determine her name and identity. She pointed out that the entire record of petitioner No.2-daugther which included her educational certificates and Aadhar Card etc. did not bear the name of her father. She submitted that if the directions sought for in the present petition are not issued, the petitioner No.2-daughter would be compelled to alter her identity that she had been using since her birth as daughter of petitioner No.1 rather than of her biological father. According to her, through the malafide, arbitrary and discriminatory decision of respondents, petitioner No.2 was being compelled to mention the name of her biological father who had refused to accept her because she is a female child. She emphasised that respondents had originally in the year 2005 and subsequently in 2011 issued a Passport without insisting upon petitioner No.2's father.
The Court has held that 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.Mother’s name is sufficient in certain cases like the present one to apply for Passport, especially as a single woman can be a natural guardian and also a parent, Court added.
Change the Software
As regards the contention of the Passport Authorities that the computer does not accept the application form without the name of the father being filled up, the Amicus Curiae submitted that the online Passport application as updated on 29th January, 2016 provides that in the column of Family Details, only one detail out of the details of Father/Mother/Legal Guardian, is mandatory and required to be filled.
Repelling the Contention the Court held as follows;
In any case, technology is intended to ease and facilitate transactions and cannot be the basis for creating and defeating anybody's legal rights. If the only impediment, in way of granting the relief sought by the petitioners, is the software, the same ought to be suitably modified to accept the application of the petitioner No.2, if she is otherwise entitled for re-issuance of the Passport.
Accordingly, the respondents are directed to modify their software and accept petitioner No.2's application and issue her a Passport without insisting upon mentioning her father's name.
Read the order here.