The Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to issue a new birth certificate to a baby girl without mentioning the biological father’s name, PTI reported. The child was born to a single mother with the help of a sperm donor.
Justices AS Oka and RI Chagla told the corporation that the fresh birth certificate should leave a blank space for the father’s name.
The court was hearing a petition filed by a 31-year-old single mother from Nalasopara in Maharashtra’s Palghar district. The petitioner had given birth in August 2016 using in vitro fertilisation.
She said that she should not be forced to disclose the name of the child’s father. She had initially requested the BMC’s birth registration department to allow her to not mention the father’s name in the document. However, when the civic authorities refused to grant her permission, and incorporated the father’s name in the certificate from hospital records, she approached the High Court.
The petitioner has cited a 2015 landmark judgement of the Supreme Court that said single mothers must not be compelled to disclose the name of their child’s biological father in birth certificates. “The judgment is binding on the respondents [BMC],” her petition said. “However, the respondents have failed, avoided and neglected to comply with the said Supreme Court direction.”
The corporation told the court that the woman had mentioned the biological father’s name in the hospital form. Though the woman questioned the authenticity of the form, the civic body said it had her signature. The corporation also said that it did not have the powers to delete an entry related to a birth or death once it had been entered in its records.
To this, the bench said, “While the High Court cannot order deletion of an entry in the hospital form and consequently in the birth register, nevertheless, in view of the apex court order, the corporation is directed to recall all the birth certificates of the petitioner’s child already issued.”