New Delhi: In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court on Monday ruled that there was no need for the consent of the father in giving guardianship of a child to an unwed mother.
The apex court bench headed by Justice Vikramajit Sen made this statement while recalling the earlier order of a guardianship court and asking it to re-examine the plea by the unwed mother seeking guardianship of the child without issuing notice to the father.
The court said that the lower courts, including high court, lost sight of the issue that was before them to be examined and decided the matter without taking into account the welfare of the child.
The court order came on a petition by a woman who is a gazetted officer in the government. The woman had challenged the procedural necessity of disclosing the identity of the father and issuing notice to him on a plea seeking sole guardianship of the child by the unwed mother.
The mother had contended that the man stayed with her barely for two months and did not even know the existence of the child.
According to an Indian Express report, the woman's plea for sole guardianship was earlier rejected by a trial court in Delhi and the High Court. She then filed an appeal in Supreme Court in 2011. The report continues that the woman 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”.
This judgement by the Supreme Court was largely well received on social media with many seeing it as a sign of progress in the Indian judiciary.
Good move: India's Supreme Court says unwed mothers can be the guardians of their child without consent of biological father.
— Shilpa Kannan (@shilpakannan) July 6, 2015
Single unwed mothers can be a child's guardian, says Supreme Court. I say woohoo. Way to go SC. Now for gay rights?
— Anuja J (@AnujaJaiman) July 6, 2015
Applauds for SC to give guardianship of their child to unwed mothers without consent of their biological father! #unwed_mothers
— Enu Anand (@EnuAnand) July 6, 2015
Updated Date: Jul 07, 2015 11:53 AM