Give option to drop father’s name in PAN form, Maneka Gandhi writes to finance ministry
The Union women and child development (WCD) ministry wants that children of separated or divorced women or those adopted by single mothers should be given the option of not writing their father’s name if they so choose while applying for PAN card, senior officials familiar with the matter said.
At present, it is mandatory to mention the father’s name in PAN (Permanent Account Number) card, which also serves as an identity proof. It is a unique ten digit alphanumeric identity that the Income Tax department allots to each tax payer.
WCD minister Maneka Gandhi has written to Piyush Goyal, her counterpart in the finance ministry earlier this week that the government “re-examine” the application form for PAN card to facilitate the filing of applications by single mothers for their children. HT has reviewed a copy of the letter.
Gandhi has argued that a number of women, who have separated from their husbands and have their children living with them, for personal reasons or otherwise, often do not want the names of their ex-husbands to be mentioned on the documents pertaining to the children.
“Keeping in view the sensitivity of such single mothers, it is important to give them option of not having to mention the names of their ex-husbands on the statutory applications required to be filed before different government authorities,” Gandhi has written in the letter.
The minister has also said that single women are also adopting children and her ministry is giving priority for such cases. “In such cases, there is no father of the child whose PAN number is being requested for,” the letter further says.
If the finance ministry agrees to Gandhi’s request, this will be the second time that the government will amend existing rules to facilitate single mothers.
In 2016, the ministry of external affairs amended the passport rules to do away with an official requirement for single mothers and divorcees to get their husbands’ signature as well as a no-objection certificate while applying for their children’s passport.
The online passport application form now requires the applicant to provide the name of father or mother or legal guardian, i.e., only one parent and not both. This allows single parents to apply for passports for their children and to also issue passports where the name of either the father or the mother is not required to be printed at the request of the applicant.
It was Gandhi who had taken up the matter with foreign affairs minister Sushma Swaraj after Priyanka Gupta, a Delhi-based single mother, launched an online campaign against the authorities’ demand that she disclose her estranged husband’s name while applying for her daughter’s passport.