Landmark Judgement: Unwed Mothers May Claim Guardianship Without Consent of Fathers
Mothers of children born out of wedlock in India are set to receive independent legal status, after the Indian Supreme Court passed this refreshingly progressive ruling. The SC has granted unwed mothers the permission to file for being the child’s legal guardian, without the previously mandatory consent of the father.
The landmark ruling also said that a single unwed mom shall not disclose the name of her child’s father in a court of law, if she chooses not to. And furthermore, she may request guardianship sans the knowledge or sanction of the father.
This ruling is especially instrumental in clearing up cases where the father is unaware of the decision of the woman to have the baby, or has been shielded from the information. And most definitely in cases where the woman does not require the father’s support, and has decided to raise the child independently.
The requesting case was filed by a single Delhi woman, who sought permission from the legal authorities to become her child’s “legal guardian”, without informing the man who fathered the child. Because, not only did he not know about the child’s existence, she also wished not to involve him in her baby’s upbringing.
The SC move resonated with this stance of the woman, and decided to alter the law to allow all single, unwed mothers to file for guardianship independent of the stance of the father. Thus, today, Justices Vikramjit Sen and Abhay Manohar Sapre ruled that there was “no need to insist on the father’s name” and that in the case of an unwed mother, her “name is sufficient”.
This move has been received heartily by women’s rights activists, who have have welcomed it and deemed it “progressive”. After all, it celebrates the individuality of a woman, allows her to have complete control over her own decisions, and vouches for her capability to raise a child without the crutches of a man.
Image Credits: Divorcedmoms.com