Unwed mothers do not require to name father to attain a child’s lawful custody

The Supreme Court of India on 6th July 2015 in a landmark judgment in the matter of ABC v. The State [(NCT of Delhi) AIR 2015 SC 2569] held that a single/ unwed mother is not required to name the biological father of the child whom she has given birth to. The verdict came from the appeal made by an unwed Christian mother who wanted to make her child a nominee for all purposes, including her investments. The Trial Court and the High Court had rejected her guardianship application made under Section 7 of the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 (“the Act”) stating that that the guardianship application of the single mother could only be decided after notice is issued to the father as provided under Section 11 of the Act stating that he could have 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. The Supreme Court whilst deciding the matter held that –

  1. The welfare of the minor child was more important than the rights of an uninvolved father and that his views are not essential to protect the interests of a child born outside the wedlock and being solely raised by the mother.
  2. The mother is best suited to care for her offspring and in the situation where the father has not exhibited any concern for his offspring, giving him legal recognition would be an exercise in futility.
  3. If a single parent or unwed mother seeks a Birth Certificate for a child born from her womb, the authorities may only require her to furnish an affidavit to this effect, and must thereupon issue the certificate, unless there is a court direction to the contrary.
  4. The right of the child to know the identity of his parents and to secure and safeguard this right makes it incumbent on the Appellant the need to disclose the name of the father to her son. The particulars of the father have been placed in a sealed envelope and may be read only pursuant to a specific direction of Supreme Court.

Share Button