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Woman moves HC against govt rule over maiden surname readoption

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Senjo M R
February 29, 2024 17:59 IST
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The Delhi high court on Thursday sought the Centre's response on a woman's petition contesting a government notification requiring women wanting to readopt their maiden surname to furnish a decree of divorce or a no-objection certificate from their husband.

Image used for representational purpose only. Photograph: ANI Photo

She has asserted that the notification infringed upon her right to "autonomy and privacy" and reflected "gender bias".


A bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet PS Arora issued notice on the petition challenging the notification issued by the department of publication, ministry of housing and urban affairs with respect to "Change of Name", and asked the central government to file its response within four weeks.

The petitioner woman, who had added her now estranged husband's surname to her maiden name, said the requirement was in violation of the provisions of the Constitution.

She asserted a person's choice of name is a vital aspect of their identity and self-expression.

Represented by law firm Karanjawala & Co, she said in her petition that the notification shows an "evident gender bias" and poses an obstacle to her right to revert to her maiden surname amid the ongoing divorce proceedings.

"The Impugned Notification, requiring an applicant obtaining a maiden surname to submit a copy of the decree of divorce or a no objection certificate from her husband, along with additional documents such as an ID proof and mobile number, coupled with the provision that the change of name cannot be processed until a final verdict is pronounced in matters before a court of law, is not in conformity with the principles of equality before the law as enshrined in the Constitution of India," the petition said.

The plea said the notification also violates the right to privacy as it mandates divorced women to submit a copy of the decree of divorce and married women to obtain no objection certificate from their spouse if they wished to adopt their maiden surname.

"This requirement intrudes upon the private sphere of a woman compelling her to disclose sensitive personal information, thereby infringing upon their autonomy and right to privacy," the plea said.

"The well-established judicial precedents, supporting the fundamental rights to privacy, individual autonomy, and gender equality, unequivocally illustrate the discord between the arbitrary conditions mandated by the Impugned Notification and the consistent stance of the judiciary," it added.

The matter would be heard next on May 28.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Senjo M R© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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