Unwed mother can be child's guardian without father's consent: SC

Welfare of child should be of paramount importance while deciding such issues and the court should not insist for name of father, rules the apex court

GN Staff | July 6, 2015


#supreme court   #guardianship   #mother   #father   #legal guardian  

Emphasising the best interest of a child, the procedural requirement of issuing a notice to the father when a guardianship petition is moved can be dispensed with, said the Supreme Court on Monday. The court ruled that an unwed mother can be appointed as the sole legal guardian of her child without the consent of the father.

A bench headed by Justice Vikramajit Sen held that consent of father is not required while deciding guardianship of the child if the mother does not wish to disclose the parentage of the child. The SC set aside order of trial court and Delhi high court directing an unwed mother, who filed guardianship petition for her child, to disclose father's name to get his consent.

The court said that welfare of child should be of paramount importance while deciding such issues and the court should not insist for name of father if a lady does not want to disclose it.

According to her petition, the father does not even know that the child exists. The Guardians and Wards Act and the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act require that a notice be sent to the child’s father to obtain his consent when a plea for guardianship is moved.

In this case, the woman has questioned this need, saying any disclosure would create more problems for both parents. She has also asserted her right not to disclose the parentage, arguing that the father had nothing to do with the upbringing of the child.

The woman has pointed out that if identifying the father is not mandatory on a passport application form, this can be allowed in a guardianship case, too, under “exceptional circumstances”.

The SC bench quashed the orders by the trial court and the high court. It sent the matter to the trial court for hearing it afresh without issuing a notice to the father.

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