The Bombay High Court ordered the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to complete the name change process of a 12-year-old child, who does not have his own father’s surname but the surname of his mother’s ex-husband, within the next few weeks.
The division bench of Justices Ujjal Bhuyan and Madhav J Jamdar said, “Matter relates to the identity of a child which has long term implication. It is therefore important that the name of the father is correctly reflected in the official record.”
After her divorce, a woman in Mumbai, a journalist by profession, had given birth to a boy in September 2009 while being in a relationship with a man. However, her partner did not come forward to assert his paternity. It led to complications in the child’s official name as his surname was yet to be finalised.
The woman had then decided to use her former husband’s surname for the child. But a few years later, her partner decided to be the father of their son.
After her partner swore an affidavit and took a paternity test, which confirmed he was the real father of the child, the woman had approached the BMC to change the surname of their son. But, the corporation did not take any decision on the issue and the woman was compelled to approach the court.
The BMC told the court that correction could be made in the register of births and deaths if the registrar was satisfied that the initial entry was either made erroneously or fraudulently or improperly. The corporation had issues related to the authenticity of the documents and said that name could be changed only after verification of the authenticity of documents.
After this, the Bombay High Court passed an order for such changes. The court asserted that the paternity test report was from a private laboratory and not from a government institution.
The bench concluded, “We are of the view that if the authorities are not sure about the authenticity of the paternity test report, they can very well ascertain the same from the concerned institution and correlate the same with the documents relied upon by the woman.”
With this, the court asked the BMC to go ahead in accordance with law and rectify the name within a period of six weeks from the date of the woman’s appearance and complete the necessary formalities.