Punjab & Haryana HC: Incorporation of Biological Mother’s Name of Petitioner in Passport Allowed

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In an act of Compassion, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has accepted a student’s prayer seeking to incorporate her deceased biological mother’s name into her passport. In, pursuance of the same made a direction to the Passport Authority to affect the same.

Facts of the Case 

They had preferred the petition by one Divya, whose mother had an unfortunate premature demise when Divya was a child. Her father remarried thereafter.

In her plea, Divya proposed that all of her documents, including her Aadhaar and her educational certificates, recorded her biological mother’s name as ‘mother’, whereas it showed her stepmother as her mother in her passport alone.

Divya sought that her stepmother’s name in her passport to be replaced with her biological mother’s eliminating any confusion between her various records during her studies and visits abroad. She applied to the Passport Authorities to effect a change, to no avail.

In March 2020, the petitioner was allowed affirmative admission in MBA Course in Olin Business School, Saint Louis on a grant by the Washington University (US), with the end goal distancing herself from any trouble during her examinations abroad and keeping in mind the expenses, the petitioner mentioned (the Passport Authority) to mention her natural mother’s name rather than her stepmother’s name.

Arguments

The Passport Authority, however, argued that such a change ought to have been effected when the petitioner reached the age of majority, and not thereafter. They relied on a clause of the Passport Manual to contend in this manner.

When the child applies for a passport for the first time after he becomes major, he has the option to keep the name of the biological parent or step-parent, as recorded in his Birth Certificate/educational certificate.

Citing the Madras High Court’s ruling in Gayatri v State of Madras, Divya’s counsels, Advocate SS Behl, and Advocate Harpreet Kaur contended that the guidelines of the Passport Manual could not be used to deny the petitioner a change in details, as the details were entered in other documents.

The Honourable Madras High Court based on fair play, equity and prudence and to prevent the educational prospect of the petitioner from being affected, directed the Regional Passport Officer, Chennai to receive passport application of the petitioner and to process the same and issue passport by using the name of a stepfather of the petitioner in the manner known to law and under the law, Justice Walia records the Petitioner’s submissions

Courts Observation

The Court accepted the petitioner’s submissions and allowed Divya’s plea, holding that the Passport Manual’s directions were “mere guidelines”.

Decision

The Court directed the Passport Authority to effect the substitution of Divya’s stepmother’s name with her biological mother’s name and issue a fresh passport within ten days.

The Punjab & Haryana High Court instructed the Regional Passport Officer, Chandigarh to take strides to assimilate the name of a petitioner’s deceased biological mother in her passport. Justice BS Walia passed the order.


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