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Single Mothers Cannot Be Forced To Disclose Name Of Child’s Father For Birth Certificate
Mathumitha Ramesh vs The Chief Health Officer and others
Madras HC, Madurai Bench
Writ Petition (MD) No.8319 of 2018
About/from the judgment:
“There are also cases where women are constrained to raise children with their own sources in view of their unwilling and unconcerned partners. It would be totally unjustifiable to insist such single or unwed mothers to compel them to declare the name of the father of the child who has chosen to abandon the child.”
The Court was hearing a petition filed by one Ms. Mathumitha Ramesh, who had given birth to a child in April last year through intrauterine fertility treatment. Being a divorcee, Ms. Ramesh had resorted to insemination with the help of a semen donor. However, the authorities had issued the child’s birth certificate with the donor’s name mentioned as the father.
Ms. Ramesh’s request for rectification of the birth certificate was also rejected by the Chief Health Officer, Trichy Municipal Corporation (Births and Deaths), who opined that while the law allowed rectification of the name, it did not allow removal of father’s name altogether.
The court ruled that authorities cannot insist on disclosure of the father’s name for registering a child’s birth, noting that it would be enough for the mother to specify on an affidavit that the child was born from her womb. It observed,
“As mentioned earlier, neither the Act nor the Rule mandates the disclosure of the identity of the father of the child. As such, the authorities concerned cannot insist for the name of the father when the details of the birth is registered in their books. At the most, the authorities concerned can require the mother to establish that the child was born from her womb, for which purpose, a duly sworn in affidavit of the mother would suffice.”
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