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Supreme Court: Mother Being The Only Natural Guardian Of A Child Has The Right To Choose Surname

  • The Supreme Court’s decision was related to a disagreement between a lady and her in-laws over the surname of her kid.
  • She got remarried in 2007 after her first spouse passed away in 2006, while her child was just two and a half years old.
  • After that, in 2008, her ex-parents husband’s petitioned the court under Section 10 of the Guardian and Wards Act, 1890, to be appointed as the minor child’s guardians.

According to the Supreme Court, the mother, who is the child’s only natural guardian after the death of the original father, has the authority to choose the child’s last name, even if she marries again.

The SC ruling came in a dispute between a woman and her parents-in-law relating to the surname of her child. 

She got remarried in 2007 after her first spouse passed away in 2006, while her child was only two and a half years old.

After that, in 2008, her ex-parents husband’s petitioned the court under Section 10 of the Guardian and Wards Act, 1890, to be appointed as the minor child’s guardians.

The petition was dismissed by the HC in 2014 with the instruction that the mother complete the necessary steps to have the child’s surname and father’s surname restored.

The HC further ordered that the name of the natural father be disclosed whenever the documents permit. The stepfather’s name should be mentioned as a stepfather if it is not otherwise prohibited.

This was contested by the woman in the SC. On Thursday, a panel of judges led by Dinesh Maheshwari and Krishna Murari expressed their opinion that the mother, as the kid’s sole natural guardian, has the authority to decide on the child’s surname and to place the child for adoption.

The top court stated, “We fail to understand how the mother can be constitutionally prohibited from enrolling the child in her new family and deciding the surname of the child after the death of her first husband, being the only natural guardian of the child.”

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