In what may be considered as a huge relief for single mothers and those going for intrauterine insemination across the country, the Madras High Court has ruled that mentioning the father’s name in birth certificates is optional.
The ruling came after a divorcee filed a petition in the Madurai bench of Madras High Court against Tiruchi Municipal Corporation (TMC).
In the petition, she had stated that she gave birth to a baby girl in a hospital in Tiruchi through intrauterine insemination and that TMC had issued a birth certificate with the name of the sperm donor as the father. The petitioner requested TMC to issue a certificate without the father’s name, which was refused by TMC citing that the law does not provide for removing the father’s name from the birth certificate.
The petitioner’s counsel argued that section 15 of the Births and Deaths Act empowers the officials to correct any erroneous entry in the birth and death certificates.
She hence requested the court to direct TMC to issue a corrected birth certificate, reported The Hindu.
Judge MS Ramesh, taking note of the plea, passed an interim order directing the TMC officials to treat the mentioning of the donor’s name as an error and correct it.
In his final order, the judge recorded the civic body’s submission that a corrected birth certificate has been issued to the petitioner.
The court said it was sufficient for the mother to file an affidavit that the child was born from her womb.
Pointing out that neither the Births and Deaths Act of 1969 nor the Tamil Nadu Registration of Births and Deaths Rules of 2000 requires the father’s name to be recorded in the birth register, the judge said that women who decide to raise children with their own income could not be compelled to name the deserters in birth certificates.
“As such, the grievance of the petitioner has been met. Hence, no further orders are required in the present writ petition. However, an incidental issue that arises for consideration is with respect to the authority of the officials to insist upon the petitioner to declare the identity of the father of the child in the birth certificate,” the judge said and went on to deal with the issue in depth, reports stated.
He stated that it would be unfair to compel single or unmarried mothers to declare the name of the father who has expressed no desire to be connected with the child.
“There are also cases where women are constrained to raise children with their own resources in view of their unwilling and unconcerned partners. It would be totally unjustifiable to compel single or unwed mothers to declare the name of the father of the child who had chosen to abandon the child,” the judge said.