Is it necessary for a child to adopt his or her Father's surname?
Updated: Jun 17
From the moment of birth, every child has the surname of his or her father. There hasn't been much debate in the past about having the freedom to use the surname of one's mother as well.
However, as people's mindsets shift and people begin to view patriarchy differently, this topic has come up in recent occurrences.
There exist no rule in Indian law that requires a child to use solely his or her father's surname. Because a child is not his or her father's property, a father does not have the right to give his child just his surname.
In an instance, a couple separated after their marriage because of various disagreements between them. They had a daughter who lived with her mother at the time.
Following their divorce, the mother of the daughter changed the girl's surname from Shrivastav to Saxena. Against this, the father filed a petition in the Delhi High Court. He wanted his daughter's name to be solely his surname and not anybody else's.
The court admonished the father’s plea stating that he does not own the girl and hence cannot force her to use only his surname. The court went on to say, "What is your concern if the girl doesn't have a problem with it?"
According to the father's plea, the daughter is a minor who lacks the necessary understanding to make such a decision. Aside from that, she has an LIC policy on her name with her father’s surname, which could be dishonored as a result of the change in surname.
The court deemed these accusations completely unfounded, noting that the child's birth certificate has both surnames.
The court dismissed the petition, but gave the father the option of displaying his name at the girl's school.