Unwed Mothers Are Not Required To Give Notice Under Section 11 Of Guardians And Wards Act, 1890 To The Child’s Putative Father

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Case Law: ABC v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2015 SCC OnLine SC 609

Delivering a quintessential decision interpreting Section 11 of Guardians and Wards Act, 1890, involving the question that whether an unwed mother must specify the name of the putative father in her petition for her appointment as the guardian of her child, the Division Bench of Vikramjit Sen and A.M. Sapre, JJ., held that the appellant can apply for her child’s guardianship without giving notice under Section 11 of the 1890 Act, to the putative father of her child. The Court further stated that Section 11 is not directly applicable in cases where one of the parents petitions the Court for appointment, as guardian of the child. The Court further directed that if a single parent/unwed mother applies for the issuance of a Birth Certificate for her child, the authorities concerned may only require her to furnish an affidavit to this effect, and must issue the Birth Certificate.

Section 11 is applicable in those cases where the guardianship of a child is sought by a third party, thereby mandating the issue of notice to the child’s natural parents. The Court further observed that Section 11 being purely procedural, the requirements can be relaxed in order to achieve the object of the Statute i.e. interest of the child. .

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