Vishwas, 17, is a happy boy now. A skating enthusiast, he had no birth certificate to prove his age and could not take part in the Sports and Physical Aptitude Test (SPAT).
But on Saturday, Vishwas, living at the MDD Bal Bhawan, was among 36 orphans who received birth certificates.
Karnal has become the first district in the country to issue birth certificates to inmate of a childcare institute, said deputy commissioner J Ganesan.
"Scores of inmates at various childcare institutes were deprived of facilities where birth certificate was necessary. As Bal Bhawan management raised the issue, we took the initiative and issued the certificates," Ganesan said while handing over the certificates at the orphanage.
He said the orphans at Bal Bhawan were covered under the same clause applicable to the adopted children by following the medical procedure.
Orphanage founder made guardian
On January 20, a board of government doctors had conducted tests to determine approximate age of each inmate at Bal Bhawan and PR Nath, the founding president of this government-recognised childcare facility, was stated as guardian in each case.
Ganesan, however, said the administration was still in a fix to issue birth certificates to 15 other inmates who were born in other states.
"We have written to the respective authorities in other states to verify the cases and send reports to Karnal for further action. But in the absence of any procedure in case of orphans, we are not sure how to handle such cases," the DC added.
Opened new avenues
On January 12, the Hindustan Times had reported that Vishwas, a promising roller skater with a bronze medal from the state championships last year, was worried for hurdles in achieving his dream.
"A wonderful talent and keen to participate in national tournaments, he was handicapped by the absence of a birth certificate. Without it, he could not compete in the appropriate category," said PR Nath, adding that this document was required even at the time of school admission.
Vishwas was admitted to the orphanage in October, 2006 after his poverty-stricken parents had allegedly committed suicide at Taprana village in Karnal.
Vandana, a former inmate of the orphanage, lost a chance to pursue higher study in Canada on sponsorship as she was termed ineligible to apply for a passport without a birth certificate.
The external affairs ministry did, in May this year, relax passport norms for orphans, saying they could have passport even without the birth certificate.
Too late for Vandana it was, but she is still happy for the other.
"They will (now) be able to cherish their dreams with the support of a birth certificate," she said. "The document is also required for a government job or joining other major institutes… the government should change rules that deprive unfortunate children who have no parents to register their birth," Vandana told HT over phone from Dehradun where she works at a school for visually impaired children.
What the rule says
Rule: Birth registration in the state is governed by the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969, and Haryana Registration of Births and Deaths Rules, 2002, made thereunder.
Some orphans do have date of birth recorded on high-school certificates, but a birth certificate issued by the municipality of the local health jurisdiction where the child was born is what counts