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Keywords – Delhi High Court, right to identity, right to life, article 21.

A person had changed his name by way of publication in The Gazette of India. His sole reason of doing so was due to the caste atrocities that were faced by him repeatedly just because of his surname. The man belonged to the Scheduled Caste and his earlier surname was very much indicative of his caste. Consequently, the two sons of the man now wanted change in their father’s name on their 10th & 12th mark sheets which were issued to them by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).

     In June 2017, CBSE through a letter had refused to make the alterations on the documents that was requested by the two sons. One point to be noted is that the changes in the name was already made in other legal documents like Aadhar Card, PAN Card & Voter Identity Card. So both the sons had moved to the Delhi High Court, with a writ petition to challenge the rejection letter which was sent by the CBSE. The matter was placed before single judge bench consisting of Justice Mini Pushkarna. The CBSE’s contention was that the change that was to be made in the surname would ultimately lead to a change in the caste as well which can lead to misuses and both the petitioners are willing a change in the father’s surname which is even beyond the school records and hence not permissible.

            The bench termed CBSE’s denial to be completely unjustified. The petitioners have sufficient right to take up the identity that they wished to be in a respectable position in the society. The court also stated that Right to Identify falls under the ambit of Right to Life that is Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Lastly, the court has directed the CBSE to take forward and do the requested alterations on the documents of the petitioners as well as clarified that the new surname will not amount to availment any sort of advantages or reservations by the petitioners.

Written by – Yashashvi Mishra, College – S S Khanna Girls Degree College, University of Allahabad, Year – 2nd year 4th semester, an intern under Legal Vidhiya


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