Court upholds rights of children of unwed mothers ALLOWING a plea to not specify the father’s name and have only the mother’s name in the birth certificate and identity documents is a progressive ruling by the Kerala High Court that recognises the rights of privacy, liberty and dignity of all citizens, including those who may have been conceived out of wedlock or are children of rape victims. The order for protection from mental agony came on the plea by a mother, who was a minor when she was impregnated under mysterious circumstances by an unidentified person, and her son, seeking her recognition as a single parent as the father’s name was different in three of his documents. None can infringe the child’s fundamental rights or intrude into his or her personal life, Justice Kunhikrishnan said, relying on a 2015 landmark Supreme Court judgment that single mothers cannot be compelled to disclose the name of their child’s biological father in the birth certificate.
Cited in the high court verdict was a letter issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs asking all chief registrars of births and deaths to follow the Supreme Court directions that in the case of a single/unwed mother, birth certificates may be issued after the production of an affidavit, and without insisting on the identity of the father. The high court Bench also quoted an order directing the Kerala Government to bring out a separate form which does not contain a field requiring the name and other details of one’s father.