Updated: Sep 18, 2022
“Better late than Never” one of the old proverbs got the nationwide attention in a landmark judgement of Kerala High Court in the case of XXX v Registrar of Births & Dead Pathanamthitta Municipality and others. The status of women in India has gaining its transformation over the period of time. The country grows along with the development of women. After the Independence India has been growing tremendously both in economic and in social sphere along with that the nations support women in all areas such as education, sports, politics, media, art and culture, service sectors, science and technology etc. The constitution of India guarantees to all Indian women Equality under Article 14, no discrimination by the state under Article 15(1), equality of opportunity under Article 16, equal pay for work under Article 39(d) and Article 42. In addition nation also provides special provision can be made by the state in favor of women and children under Article15 (3), renounces practices derogatory to the dignity of women under Article 51(A)(e) and under Article 42 securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief. Over the years women of India started to challenge the social norms which is still practiced in the country in the form of culture and Religious rites.
The participation of women in social sphere is still a conservative idea in the rural villages. The rural areas surrounding Delhi are among the most conservative in India. In contemporary India where in certain regions social life was not influenced by the state the practice of honor killing, patriarchy, strict cultural marriage practices, prohibition of women in temples, sexual harassment in workplace, rights violations are still taking place in India. Besides these the status of unwed, widowed women, rape victim, disability women are not even taken into consideration even today. The strict social stigma curtail the rights of these women in general social sphere. In modern Indian through legal liberty the social norms are been discussed and coming into limelight for remarkable transition one such example and long lasting demand from the feminist movement or from the women of this country is the inclusion of women names in important document especially in the birth certificates. In the writ petition filed by the petitioner 1 seeking to expunge(strike) and remove the father’s name from the birth certificate and directed for the issuance of a certificate showing the mother’s name only as a single parent. The second Petitioner had conceived her son when she was a minor under a mysterious circumstance by an unidentified person. Therefore the father’s name of the 1st petitioner happened to be recorded differently in different documents. The court while addressing this case justice P.V Kunhikrishnan recalled the status of karna in the epic story of Mahabharata and he quoted “We want a society with no such characters like “Karna”, who curses his life because of the insult he faced for not knowing the whereabouts of his parents. Our Constitution and the Constitutional Courts will protect all of them and the new age “Karna” can live like any other citizen with dignity and pride. A child of an unwed mother is also a citizen of our country and nobody can infringe any of his/her fundamental rights which are guaranteed in our constitution. He/she is a son / daughter of not only the unwed mother but this great country “India”. We need to live in a country where there will be no example to cite for the word “bastard” and let the word continue in the dictionary pages without getting an opportunity to give examples to the young student generation of English. The children of unwed mothers and the children of raped victims can also live in this country with the fundamental rights of privacy, liberty and dignity. Non can intrude into their personal life and it happens the constitutional court of this country will protect their fundamental rights. The court also cited in ABC V State (NCT of Delhi) the government of India be letter circulated to all the Chief Registrar of Births and Deaths in the country directing that the name of the single parent will be written in the birth record and the name of the other parent must be left blank if such requests are made. In Suchita Srivastava and Another V Chandigarh Administration it was held that a women’s reproductive choice is a fundamental right and compassed the same under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.