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SC asks trial court to re-decide plea of unwed mother


New Delhi: Supreme Court today came to the rescue of an unwed mother who is opposed to naming the biological father of her child, by directing a local court here to recall an earlier order and decide afresh her plea that she be declared the guardian without any notice to the father.

Referring to various civil and common law jurisdictions across the globe, a bench of justices Vikramajit Sen and Abhay Manohar Sapre said the “welfare of the minor child” was more important than the rights of an “uninvolved father”.

The bench, while allowing the plea of the mother, gave a common direction to the authorities to issue birth certificate to the children of “single parent/unwed mother” on furnishing of an affidavit alone.

“We direct that if a single parent/unwed mother applies for the issuance of a Birth Certificate for a child born from her womb, the Authorities concerned may only require her to furnish an affidavit to this effect, and must thereupon issue the Birth Certificate, unless there is a Court direction to the contrary.

“Trite though it is, yet we emphasize that it is the responsibility of the State to ensure that no citizen suffers any inconvenience or disadvantage merely because the parents fail or neglect to register the birth. Nay, it is the duty of the State to take requisite steps for recording every birth of every citizen.

“To remove any possible doubt, the direction pertaining to issuance of the Birth Certificate is intendedly not restricted to the circumstances or the parties before us,” it said.

The court’s verdict came on the plea of a single unwed Christian mother who wanted to make her child a nominee for all purposes including sole nominee of all her investments.

The trial court and the High Court had rejected her guardianship plea saying that her claim that she is a single mother could only be decided after notice is issued to the father as he could have “an interest in the welfare and custody of his child even if there is no marriage and that no case can be decided in the absence of a necessary party.”

“We think it necessary to also underscore the fact that the Guardian Court as well as the High Court which was in seisin of the Appeal ought not to have lost sight of the fact that they had been called upon to discharge their parens patriae (child’s welfare) jurisdiction,” the apex court said.

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