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Unwed Mothers can now Claim Guardianship without Informing Fathers – Supreme Court Ruling

Supreme Court just broke the shackles of patriarchy by passing a ruling which no longer makes it mandatory for unwed mothers to inform the fathers and take their consent regarding the guardianship of the child. 

Owing to a landmark ruling from the Supreme Court, led by Justice Vikramjit Sen, an unwed mother can now refrain from disclosing the existence of their children from the father.

This is in light of a case being fought by a woman who claimed that not only was she not married to the father of the child, but that he was not even aware of the child having been born.


Credit – Facebook

This ruling is capable of protecting several women who are victims of sexual assault, rape and violence. It is also capable of protecting women from familial pressures of the father and the potential emotional trauma that some women face, in the name of financial help.

Prior to this, according to The Guardians and Wards Act and the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, the mother of the child was required to send a notice to the child’s father in order to acquire his consent when a plea for guardianship was being reallocated. However, now, no such notice is required to be sent.

The mother can claim full guardianship over her child without having to inform the father.

“Sikkim 1” by Steve Evans from Bangalore, India – Flickr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Credit – Wikipedia

While this falls under the major gains of the ruling, the flip side of it hovers around the unjust usage of such a freedom. In a case where there is no such protection required and the mother chooses to guard the identity of her child, the right of the father is compromised.

Therefore, human rights activists are concerned that it has the potential to be misused, and some checks and balances are essential to protect the rights of innocent fathers too.

“Supreme Court of India – Retouched” by Legaleagle86
Credit: Wikipedia

Having said this, the ruling is a step towards progress. It does strike patriarchy right at its centre and challenges the illogical “rights” of the father. No longer shall an unwed woman be liable to tell the father and seek his permission in the case of guardianship of her own child.

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