The society at large, and particularly in India is well acquainted with the plight of unwed mothers who become second class citizens simply because they had engaged in a natural process but without a legal fall-back, and decide to not abandon their children.After Monday’s judgment, an unwed mother is on an equal footing with the father in terms of guardianship. Although it is a matter of natural justice that the guardianship of a child - unless contended otherwise - belongs to both the parents married or not, this expressly stated provision was a dire necessity.
It is a progressive judgment and a very welcome one.Kavitha Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association, said the judgment, though quite progressive in terms of protection for an unwed mother, ought to have extended its ambit to mothers who for various reasons do not want the interference of the father. The fact that an unwed woman becomes a mother and approaches the court for a matter concerning this, is sufficient grounds to indicate that the child’s father’s status for guardianship and his capability to actually be the guardian are both questionable.
The Supreme Court ruling that an unwed mother does not have to reveal the name of her child’s father to claim guardianship, is a way of empowering a woman to raise her child single-handedly, and preventing her from being marginalised socially and economically. Although it can be argued as the Former Additional Solicitor General Sidharth Luthra did, that the father has a right to know about his child, and a child has the right to experience a father’s love. In that <g data-gr-id="14">case</g> that father is free to prove his paternity but the mother cannot be forced to reveal it. The society is abounding with cases where the interference of an abusive father causes detriment to the family. While the position of a father is indispensable, the lack of fatherhood compounded by <g data-gr-id="17">havoc</g> wreaked by a person around all the time causes irreparable damage to a child. And this said, the guardianship law upholds that the rights and interests of the child are of paramount importance and the interests of the parents are subservient to them.