Unless there has been a formal adoption of a child, the name of biological parents cannot be changed in records, ruled the Bombay High Court on Wednesday.
A division bench of justice PB Majmudar and justice Mridula Bhatkar also cautioned the authorities to keep this in mind whenever there is request for change in name.
The high court was hearing a petition filed by Rahul Pukale, who had sought that his biological father’s name — Manoj Pukale — be restored in
his school and university records.
All his school and college records have his name as Rahul Sanjay Sawant.
Rahul, who studied at Parle Tilak Vidyalaya in Vile Parle (East) and graduated in Mass Media from Sathaye College, made an application to his school and the Maharashtra State Board for Secondary and Higher Secondary Education seeking that his name in the SSC mark sheet and passing certificate be changed to Rahul Pukale.
But the school and board rejected his application saying that such a request has to be made within three years of passing from school.
According to Rahul’s petition, he was born on January 1991 and a family court in Hubli had dissolved the marriage of his parents, Manoj and Rajshri, in December 1992.
Rajshri remarried in February 1997.
The next year, she made application in the school to change Rahul’s father’s name to Sanjay Sawant, which the school obliged.
In January 2001, while hearing a custody petition by Manoj, the family court in Hubli directed both parents to restore the name Pukale in Rahul’s school records.
On June 30, 2005 Rajshri’s divorced again.
Rahul’s lawyer argued that because his client was a minor then, he did not have a say. But now he wants the name of his biological father to on his school and college records.
Justice Majmudar observed: “The father’s name of a child cannot be changed unless given in formal adoption.”
Saying that it was not correct to put Sanjay Sawant’s name as Rahul’s natural father, Justice Majmudar said: “He is entitled to get his father's name restored on all his records.”
Setting aside the rejection order, the high court has directed the school and college authorities to change Rahul’s records.
Disposing of the petition, the judges said in all relevant records Manoj Pukale’s name will be shown as father and Sanjay Sawant’s deleted.