A single mother-to-be has moved the Kerala High Court against the mandate to mention a father’s name in a child’s birth certificate. The woman has challenged the Kerala Registration of Birth and Death Rules, 1999, and particularly the requirement to disclose the name of the father in the birth and death certificates of a person.
The petitioner got pregnant through In-vitro fertilisation (IVF), which is artificial insemination wherein the identity of the sperm donor isn’t revealed even to the mother. But the Kerala Registration of Birth and Death Rules has a mandatory directive to mention the details of the father in the child’s birth certificate.
According to the Bar and Bench, the single mother has challenged the Rules on the ground that it is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India, right to privacy, and ultra vires to the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969. She alleges that the rules are unfair when it comes to single mothers and children born to single mothers.
The mother-to-be reportedly asserted that the provision only to show the name of the father is illegal and arbitrary in the case of mothers like her, who don’t receive the details of anonymous donors.
The petitioner further submitted that the absence of a mother’s details from the birth and death certificate of a person is gender discrimination which violates Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
According to the single mother, it's a personal choice to become a single parent and also that she and her child are entitled to enjoy their right to privacy.
In 2018, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court had ruled that single mothers don't need to disclose the name of the child’s father during the registration process. The decision came in regard to the case filed by a divorced woman who underwent intrauterine fertility treatment and insemination.
After the birth of her child, the newborn was reportedly wrongly registered under the surname of a person who was helping the mother in hospital on humanitarian grounds.