The Bombay High Court today directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to issue new birth certificates for a girl child born through the test tube process without mentioning her biological father’s name. A bench of Justices AS Oka and RI Chagla also directed the civic body to recall the birth certificates bearing the name of the girl’s father on them that have already been issued, and to re-issue certificates with a blank space where the father’s name should be. The bench was hearing a plea filed by a single woman from Nallasopara in Palghar district who gave birth to a child in August 2016 through test tube process with the sperm obtained from a donor.
The petitioner had said that she did not want to disclose the name of the sperm donor and requested the high court to direct the BMC’s ward office concerned to issue a birth certificate for the child without mentioning the father’s name. Her petition also cited a 2015 judgement of the Supreme Court that mandated that if a single or unmarried mother applies for a birth certificate and files an affidavit seeking that the father’s name be withheld, such a certificate must be issued without insisting on the name of the child’s biological father.
Last week, the BMC had produced the child’s birth certificate and the original records before the high court. As per the records, at the time of the child’s birth, the petitioner had submitted her full name, and claimed that she was married to a businessman, the BMC had said. The civic body had also told the court that the woman had also mentioned the name of the child’s biological father in the hospital form that was used as the basis for preparing the birth record. While the woman has disputed the authenticity of the above form, the BMC submitted that the form bore her signature. Refusing the woman’s request, the BMC had argued that it had no powers to delete an entry related to one’s birth or death once the same was registered in its records.
The bench, however, said today that in view of the SC judgement, the corporation must withhold the father’s name on the certificate. On the issue of the BMC’s power to correct entries in the register and the woman’s claim that she had not given the information to the hospital authorities where the girl was born, the bench said that matter should be decided by civil court. “While the high court cannot order deletion of an entry in the hospital form and consequently in the birth register, nevertheless, in view of the apex court order, the corporation is directed to recall all the birth certificates of the petitioner’s child (which are) already issued. And to keep the space for the father’s name blank in the new certificates to be issued,” the bench said.