Mumbai: The union government today told the Bombay High Court the passport authorities are compiling various judgements to re-formulate the mandatory rule regarding the inclusion of biological father’s name by an applicant in the passport application form. The court was hearing a petition filed by a woman challenging the refusal of passport authority to include her stepfather’s name in her passport as recorded in her school or college certificates.
The regional passport officer had refused saying she must obtain a court order appointing her stepfather as her guardian. The officer had also refused to alternatively include the name of her mother who had the permanent custody of the applicant.
The Centre informed the HC that the petitioner was free to make a representation to them about her suggestions on inclusion of stepfather’s name in reformulation of the rules. The bench then asked the petitioner to make such a representation if she so desired and adjourned the matter to March 2.
The bench asked the petitioner to suggest probable situations when inclusion of biological father’s name by an applicant in the passport form would pose a problem. This could be in a situation when a child is born in a live-in relationship or in rape cases or when a child is born to an unwed mother.
In such probable cases, questions would be formulated and then put up before the passport authorities, the bench observed. At the last hearing, the Centre had observed that an unwed mother will have to declare how she had conceived the child. This was in response to a query by the bench which said “we were wondering what happens in case of unwed mothers?”
The advocate, appearing for the Foreign Ministry, had said that an unwed mother must file an affidavit stating “how she has conceived” and “if she was raped” and why she does not want the father’s name included. She added that the details are in the passport manual, a classified document.