Delhi High Court orders deletion of father's name from passport of minor


The High Court of Delhi has directed the passport authorities to delete the name of the biological father from the passport of a minor child, who was abandoned by his father even before his birth.

The order was passed recently by the Single-Judge Bench of Justice Prathiba M. Singh on a petition filed by a woman, contending that her husband had abandoned her during pregnancy and that she has raised the child all by herself as a single parent.

The woman claimed that as per the settlement deed entered into between her and her husband, the exclusive custody of the child belonged to her and that the father of the child has given up all rights in respect of the child, including visitation rights.

Furthermore, the child is using the surname of the mother and the maternal grandparents and that no maintenance or alimony was paid by the father to the mother and the child.

The woman contended that since the father has completely abandoned the child, this was a case where the name of the father ought not to be insisted upon by the passport authorities for being mentioned in the child’s passport.

Per contra, the Counsel representing the Centre submitted that only in the case of single unwed parents, the name of the father need not be mentioned.

Rejecting the submission, the High Court noted that the Passport Manual 2020 and the Office Memorandum (OM) issued by the Ministry of External Affairs in February 2023 recognised several situations or conditions where the exclusion of the name of the father from the passport of the minor child was permissible.

The High Court ruled that the Passport Manual 2020 clearly recognised several situations/ conditions where the exclusion of name of the father from the minor’s passport was permissible.

It said Clause 4.1 itself clearly enabled a single parent to apply for a passport without mentioning the name of the other parent. Clause 4.2 carved out a specific category relating to unwed single parents, added the Single-Judge Bench.

Justice Singh further observed that
even a perusal of the OM would show that in peculiar cases, where there was no contact of father with the mother or the child, the name of the father need not be included in the passport.

Noting that under certain circumstances, the name of the biological father could be deleted and the surname could also be changed, Justice Singh ruled that such a relief ought to be considered, depending upon the factual position emerging in each case.

Noting that no hard and fast rule could be applied, Justice Singh said there were myriad situations in the case of matrimonial discord between the parents, where the child’s passport application may have to be considered by the authorities.

She said considering the 'unique and peculiar circumstances' of the instant case, the passport authorities have been directed to delete the name of father from the passport of the minor child.

Justice Singh further ordered the passport authorities to re-issue a passport in favour of the child without mentioning the name of the father.