Every child has the right to use their mother’s surname and the father does not have the right to force his decision on the matter, the Delhi High Court observed on Friday, Bar and Bench reported.

The court was hearing a plea moved by a man seeking directions to authorities concerned to reflect his last name on official records as his minor daughter’s surname and not use her mother’s.

In his petition, the father submitted that his estranged wife had changed the minor’s surname from “Srivastava” to “Saxena”. The change in name will make it difficult to avail insurance claims as the policy was taken in the name of the girl with her father’s last name, he contended.

However, Justice Rekha Palli rejected the plea.

“The father does not own the daughter to dictate that she should use only his surname,” the judge said. “If the minor daughter is happy with her surname, what is your problem?”

To this, the petitioner’s counsel, Anuj Kumar Ranjan, submitted that the girl was a minor and therefore did not take decisions for herself. The court, however, did not see merit in the argument.

“The apprehension that the LIC [insurance policy] will be dishonoured is misconceived and is an attempt to somehow set score with his [petitioner’s] estranged wife,” the judge noted.

Justice Palli dismissed the petition but gave permission to the petitioner to approach the minor’s school to show his name as the girl’s father. The court also noted that even the the minor’s birth certificate should have both the parents’ names, the Hindustan Times reported.