New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday said that a mother, being the sole natural guardian after the death of her husband, is entitled to change the surname of her child and give him the surname of her second husband if she marries again. Is.
Observing that the surname plays an important role in providing an atmosphere and a sense of family to the children, a bench of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Krishna Murari observed that a woman can give the child the surname of her second husband, thereby giving her the first death. later remarries. Can also give husband and child to her husband for adoption.
The court also said that it is “almost cruel and unwise” to mention her second husband as stepfather in the child’s documents.
The bench passed the order while deciding the legal battle between a woman and her in-laws over the custody and surname of the child. The top court set aside the order of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, which held that a woman cannot change the surname of a child after the death of her husband.
“After the death of her first husband, being the sole natural guardian of the child, we fail to see how the mother can be legally prevented from including the child in her new family and fixing the surname of the child. A surname refers to the name a person shares with other members of that person’s family, which is distinct from that person’s given name or names; a family name. Surname is not merely an indication of ancestry and It should be understood not only in terms of history, culture and ancestry, but more importantly in relation to the social reality it plays, as well as the feeling of being for children in their particular environment. emerges as a mode to be maintained and displayed,” the bench said.
It set aside the order of the HC, which had ruled in favor of the grandparents and directed the mother, who gave the child the surname of her second husband, after remarriage, to restore the surname. Questioning the HC order mentioning her second husband as stepfather in the child’s documents, the bench said, “Direction of the High Court to include the name of the husband of the appellant as stepfather in the documents.” Almost cruel and regardless of how it would affect the child’s mental health and self-esteem.”
“A name is important because a child derives its identity from it and the difference in name from that of his family will serve as a constant reminder of the fact of adoption and the child in a comfortable, natural relationship between him and his parents. Therefore, we do not see anything unusual in the appellant mother, having given the child her husband’s surname on remarriage or even giving the child up for adoption to her husband. is,” it said. In this case the stepfather had adopted the child.
Allowing the mother’s plea challenging the HC order, the apex court observed that no specific prayer was made by the grandparents challenging the change of surname, but the HC passed the order even then. “It is absurd to see judicial intervention in such a matter,” the bench said.