The Supreme Court has now recently held that an unwed mother can also become the sole legal guardian of her child even without the consent of the father. Even if the father is in the picture, she may choose not to reveal his name. She can now constitutionally have full custody of her child. The petitioner was a government official and she filed the writ petition in the Supreme Court in 2011 after the Delhi High Court did not allow her to file for a guardianship petition without taking the father’s consent. Her plea in front of the Apex Court was that she barely lived with the father for two months and that he wasn’t even aware of the child’s existence. It is already well known through statutes like The Guardians and Wards Act 1890 and The Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act 1950 that a notice has to be sent to the child’s father so that he gives his consent before a plea for guardianship is moved. The petitioner argued in this case that if the passport application form does not require identification of the father, why is it necessary to make an exception of such a kind in guardianship cases. The bench which addressed the main issue raised in this case comprised of Justices Vikramjit Sen and Abhay Manohar Sapre. They decided the case by saying that there is no need to insist on the father’s name and if it is an unwed mother’s case, then her name is sufficient for the purposes of guardianship. The apex court thus, quashed the orders of the lower courts (Trial Court and High Court) to reach this conclusion. Hence, a father’s consent is no more required if an unwed mother wants to become her child’s legal guardian. The Apex Court in it’s judgment also remarked that the lower courts did not really take into account the welfare of the child while deciding the case, which should have been of utmost importance. The SC has now sent the entire matter to the Trial Court and said that the father’s consent is not required while deciding guardianship cases. The Supreme Court, through this judgment, has clearly proclaimed the fact that the times are changing and they are certainly in tune with these changing times. This precedent has been considered to be a great move by a lot of activists. ————–
About the Author: This article is contributed by Sayesha Bhattacharya, our intern.