HC steps in to name child as estranged parents fail to arrive at consensus

Kerala High Court
Kerala High Court. Photo: Manorama

Kochi: The High Court named a girl-child after her separated parents failed to arrive at a consensus over her name. The court took up the role under the special previllege of the court – Parents Patria, observing that the state of namelessness is not good for the welfare of the child.

Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas disposed the case filed by the mother under Parents Patria that allows the court to take up the role of a guardian. “The court has to give prominence to the child’s rights and welfare rather than the rights of the parents when the special previlege of the court is used,” the court said.

The entire issue started when the school authorities declined to accept the birth certificate of the four-year old girl during her admission as it was silent about her name. Following this, her mother, with whom the child is residing, approached the birth registration authorities. However, the registration authorities informed her that the name suggested by mother can be accepted only if it is endorsed by the father and insisted for their presence in person. When the father insisted for yet another name for the child, dispute started and the mother moved the family court for a favourable decision. There too the solution remained aloof and the mother finally approached the High Court.

“The child should have a name and there is no dispute between the parents over the matter,” the court observed and ordered the registration authorities to accept the name suggested by the mother and to add the name of the father along with it. Since the child is brought up by her mother at present, the mother’s choice could be given due consideration, the court instructed.

The court asked the petitioner to file a new application with the new name and the registration authorities should take steps for the registration without insisting for the consent of both the parents.

(Honouring the privacy of the child, her name is not mentioned in the report)

Either of the parents can register name
The court ordered that either, father or mother of a child could apply for the registration of the names of their children and the authorities could not insist for the consent of the other party for the same. If any one of them wanted any change, they could move legally for the same.

The court observed that by `parents,’ the norms regarding the birth and death means only either the father or the mother and the consent or presence of both of them requires only on rare occasions. The court also struck down the circular issued by the Government in 2016, giving the right to correct the name to the parent who has the right to the custody of the child. “The Government does not have the authority to issue such a circular,’’ the court observed.

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