New Delhi: A person seeking passport is bound to disclose the names of his or her biological parents and not those of the adopted ones if the adoption has not been legally mandated, the Delhi High Court has held.
Justice Vipin Sanghi gave the ruling saying that the passport is not merely a travel document, but a crucial one of one’s identity and there has to be a “legal” adoption for getting it issued without the biological father’s name.
The court order came on a plea by a 16-year-old girl’s mother challenging the regional passport office’s decision to reject her daughter’s passport application.
“A passport is not only a travel document, but is also an identity document. The identity of a person is determined, inter alia, by his parentage. Therefore, unless there is a legal adoption of the applicant, he/she is bound to give the
name of his/her natural parents and cannot choose to provide the name of the adopted parent’s in his/her application form,” the court said.
The passport for the girl had been sought by her mother, who had, earlier in 1997, sought divorce from her husband and had subsequently executed an adoption deed in favour of her second husband, whose name she had given in the passport application as the girl’s father. After rejection of the passport application, she had moved court on behalf of her daughter.
The court, however, pointed out that both parents of a child, if alive, have equal right to give the child in adoption but one cannot exercise this right unilaterally without the other’s consent.
While rejecting the girl’s mother plea, challenging the RPO’s decision, the court, however, gave her liberty re-submit the application afresh with the name of girl’s biological father.
“I dismiss this petition leaving it open to the petitioner to comply with the objections raised by RPO, New Delhi and to re-submit her application with the correct details, inter alia, with regard to her parentage,” it said.
“The law is very clear that such right cannot be exercised by either of the parents of the child save with the consent of the other, unless one of them has deliberately and finally renounced the world or has ceased to be a Hindu or has
been declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be of unsound mind,” the court said.
The court pointed out that the settlement arrived at between the girl’s natural parents at the time of their divorce cannot be said to include an implied consent by the her father to the giving her in adoption to any other person.