Change of name: India
This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
The legal position
A right, HC
November 8, 2020: The Times of India
Change student’s name, it’s his right, HC tells DU
Delhi High Court underscored that to have a name and to express the same in the manner one wishes is a part of the right to freedom of speech and expression and liberty under the Constitution of India. The high court’s observation came while directing Delhi University to change the name of one of its students without insisting on a change in his CBSE records. The high court said such a requirement amounted to “asking for the impossible” as “the right to change a name is a protected right.”
Justice Jayant Nath said the student passed Class XII in 2018 and was seeking a change in his name in 2019, while he was studying in the university. “Asking him to first get the CBSE records changed was ‘a misplaced requirement’ and cannot be accepted”, the court noted. The bench was hearing a plea by Rayaan Singh, who sought change of name to Rayaan Chawla in the university records. He challenged Delhi University’s notification of 2015, which mandates that for change of name in the varsity records, it has to be first effected in the certificate issued by Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). According to the plea, after his parents separated in 2007 and got divorced in 2015, Rayaan wanted to adopt his mother’s surname as he “never enjoyed a constructive relationship” with his father. He had already published a declaration regarding the change of name in two newspapers and the Gazette of India.
Delhi University had opposed the plea on the grounds that he had adequate time to get his name changed after his parents’ divorce, as he passed Class XII only in 2018. But the court did not agree. “When CBSE issued the documents, the petitioner had the original name Rayaan Singh. The same cannot be changed now, as in 2018, when the petitioner completed his Class XII, he was known as Rayaan Singh,” it observed. It added that since the change of name was with effect from August/ September 2019, i.e., much after the Class X and XII certificates issued by CBSE, Delhi University could not in these peculiar facts and circumstances insist that he should also get the name changed in the records of CBSE.
“It would be appropriate that respondent No.1/ University of Delhi may change the name of the petitioner in its records/in the degree that may be given in the future to the petitioner....Such a course of action will avoid any confusion in the two names, which will be seen on the records of CBSE and of University of Delhi/appropriate documents issued by the said entities,” the court observed.
A right: HC/ 2020
Rajesh Kumar Pandey, December 19, 2020: The Times of India
The Allahabad high court has held that change of name is a part of right to expression guaranteed under Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution of India.
Allowing a writ petition filed by one Kabir Jaiswal, Justice Pankaj Bhatia observed, “As the right to freedom of expression is guaranteed under Article19 (1) (a) of the Constitution, freedom of expression through the change of name cannot be denied to the petitioner in the present case and he is entitled to change his name.”
The court also directed the CBSE to issue a fresh certificate recording the name of the petitioner as Kabir Jaiswal in place of Rishu Jaiswal within a period of two months.
According to the petitioner, he had appeared in the Secondary School Examination in the academic year 2011-13, i.e., Class-X, and Senior School Certificate Examination in the year 2015, i.e., Class-XII, conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education, Delhi in the name of Rishu Jaiswal, son of Santosh Kumar Jaiswal and had passed the said examinations also. Later, the petitioner with an intent to change his name from Rishu Jaiswal to Kabir Jaiswal, got a notice published in the notification in the Gazette of India and moved an application for correction of the name from Rishu Jaiswal to Kabir Jaiwal. In the petition, the petitioner claims that the name was changed in the Aadhaar card and the PAN card also in pursuance to the Gazette Notification. However, when the petitioner moved an application through the school concerned for change of name in the certificates, the Board vide order dated May 27, 2020, rejected the application for change of name on the ground that the particulars of the school records do not show the change of name as sought by the petitioner.
SC, 2021: CBSE can’t refuse to change names after declaring results
Dhananjay Mahapatra, June 4, 2021: The Times of India
In animportant judgment, the Supreme Court ruled that the CBSE could not impose a blanket ban on changes in the names of students, parents and other particulars in certificates or marksheets after declaration of results of board examinations.
The judgment, delivered by a bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar, B R Gavai and Krishna Murari, came on 22 petitions relating to correction or change in name and surname or date of birth of candidates or their parents in the CBSE certificates. Various high courts gave conflicting rulings on this issue.
Justice Khanwilkar said the right to change a name was a constituent element of freedom of expression of identity. “...an individual is not only recognised by how an individual identifies oneself but also by how his or her official records identify. For, in every public transaction of an individual, official records introduce the person by name and other relevant particulars,” he said.
The bench directed the board to take immediate steps to amend its bylaws to allow candidates to change their names or the names of their parents in certificates.
“Illustratively, a juvenile accused of being in conflict with the law or a victim of sexual abuse whose identity gets compromised ... may consider changing the name to seek rehabilitation in society in exercise of her right to be forgotten. If the board, in such a case, refuses to change the name, the student would be compelled to live with the scars of the past,” the bench said.