The Delhi High Court has observed that in case the father has completely deserted the child, his name can be deleted from the passport, and the passport be re-issued in favour of the minor child without the name of the father.

A Single Bench of Justice Prathiba M. Singh said, “… the fact that the minor son is also using the surname of the mother and the maternal grandparents, itself shows that the father does not wish to have any concern or relationship with the child. No maintenance or alimony has also been paid to the Petitioners in this case. In fact, this would be a case where the father has completely deserted the child. … it is accordingly directed that the name of the father of Petitioner No.2 be deleted from the passport and the passport be re-issued in favour of the minor child without the name of the father. Needless to add that this order shall not be treated as a precedent.”

The Bench directed that the new passport be issued without the name of the father within a period of one week.

The petitioner Smita Maan appeared in person while CGSC Rakesh Kumar and ASC Mehak Nakra appeared for the respondent.

Brief Facts -

A writ petition was filed by the mother and her minor son seeking the deletion of the name of the father of the minor child from his existing passport or in the alternative, the re-issuance of a fresh passport to the minor child without mentioning the name of the father therein. It was alleged by the petitioner that her husband had deserted her during the pregnancy itself and since then had raised her son as a single parent.

In terms of the extant Passport Manual and Regulations, in 2015, the petitioner had applied for a passport for her son which was issued to him, and the names of both the biological father and mother of the minor child were mentioned. As per the settlement between the petitioner and her husband, neither the petitioner nor her minor son was given any payment including alimony, maintenance, etc., and thus, in effect, the father severed all ties with the child.

The High Court in view of the facts and circumstances of the case noted, “… under certain circumstances the name of the biological father can be deleted and the surname can also be changed. … There are myriad situations in the case of matrimonial discord between parents, where the child’s passport application may have to be considered by the authorities.”

The Court asserted that the facts of the case are quite peculiar and that the father had given up all rights towards the child.

“There is no visitation. The child has also not been brought up by the father. … this Court is of the opinion that Clause 4.5.1 of Chapter 8 and Clause 4.1 of Chapter 9 would clearly be applicable”, said the Court.

The Court, therefore, observed that the petitioner along with her son may appear before the Regional Passport Office, Delhi, and surrender the passport which was already been issued along with the certified copy of the order.

Accordingly, the Court disposed of the petition.

Cause Title- Smita Maan and Anr. v. Regional Passport Officer (Neutral Citation: 2023:DHC:2784)

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