Punjab and Haryana high court have ruled that the passport authorities cannot insist on keeping biological father’s surname in the passport, if it is proved that the parties, at the time of divorce, had agreed to keep the surname of the mother.
The order came on the petition of a single mother from Panchkula, who got a divorce in 2015, and had approached the high court as passport authorities were delaying incorporation of change of surname in her daughter’s passport.
The passport authorities had told the court that under passport manual of 2010, parent’s name cannot be deleted from a passport, consequent to a divorce.
By virtue of the divorce decree, only the relation as wife and husband severs and it does not result in severance of the relation between the child and the parent, unless the parent has legally disowned the child.
However, the high court bench of Justice RK Jain took note of the fact that in this case, the husband has virtually disowned his daughter as in the settlement.
Also, he has not asked for her custody or visiting rights; agreed that the mother will continue to have custody of the minor daughter without his interference; has paid full amount towards maintenance of his daughter while paying the alimony to his wife and has agreed that after the settlement, his daughter will not keep his surname.
“From these facts and circumstances, it is clear that the husband of the petitioner has disowned his daughter legally by way of a settlement before the court of law,” said the high court bench.
It also asked the passport authorities to carry out changes as per the request of the petitioner.
The high court also took note of a Delhi high court judgment in which it was held that the mother’s name was sufficient in a passport, in case of single mother.