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Supreme Court: Mother Has the Right to Determine the Surname of a Child

The SC overturned a high court ruling by allowing a mother the freedom to change her child’s last name.

Mother and Daughter
Photo by Douglas Lopez on Unsplash

The SC overturned a high court ruling by allowing a mother the freedom to change her child’s last name.

In a ruling that overturned the Andhra Pradesh High Court’s judgment, the Supreme Court stated that the mother, as the child’s sole natural guardian, has the authority to choose the child’s surname. It also stipulated that she could place her child for adoption.

The state high court ordered a mother to change the last name of her child and list her new spouse as the “stepfather” in the documents. The case was being heard by the bench of Justices Krishna Murari and Dinesh Maheshwari.

The prior ruling was also described by the court as “nearly cruel and senseless.” It was stated that such guidance might have an effect on the child’s mental health and sense of self.

The Initial Case

The initial dispute included the mother of the child and the child’s biological grandparents. When the woman remarried after the sudden death of her first husband and gave her child the surname of her new husband, the argument over the surname began.

The Andhra Pradesh High Court approved the grandparents’ plea and ordered the mother to change the child’s surname back to that of his biological father. Additionally, “if it is otherwise prohibited, “it urged her to include the child’s stepfather in the records.

The Supreme Court’s Verdict

When the Supreme Court overruled the high court’s decision, the bench granted the mother total freedom to change the child’s surname following her second marriage.

The court noted that a surname is a name that a kid or individual shares with other family members. It does more than merely denote lineage and ought to be used outside the confines of one’s culture and history.

According to the bench, a child’s surname is extremely important since it gives them a feeling of social reality. “Homogeneity of surnames arises as a means to form, sustain, and display a family,” the statement continued.

The mother, if she is still the child’s only natural caregiver, can choose the child’s last name and may even offer the infant up for adoption, the court decided.

“The court may have the power to interfere, but only when a particular plea to that effect is made, and such a prayer must be focused on the premise that the child’s interest is the paramount consideration, and it exceeds all the other reasons,” the bench said in its ruling. Finally, it mandated that the high court’s orders in this particular case be overturned.

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Written by Yashika Goel

From Arts and Journalism background, Yashika is a graphic designer and content writer living in Delhi. When not working, you’ll find me eating pasta, travelling, reading books, drinking coffee or painting. Join me as I learn more about myself and show you how to love life daily!

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