Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 – Section 15 – Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 – Section 12 – Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956 – Sections 6, 7 & 9 – Hindu Succession Act, 1956 – Section 8 – Birth Certificate – Correction or cancellation of entry in the register of births and deaths – Effects of adoption – Natural guardians of a Hindu minor – Natural guardianship of adopted son – Persons capable of giving in adoption – Incorporation of the name of step-father in place of his biological father – Whether Permissible? – Held, Even if there is a divorce between biological parents of the petitioner, in the presence of the biological father, the step-father of the petitioner cannot give the petitioner in adoption with his biological mother – the step-son is neither Class-I nor Class-II heir – Correction in the Birth Certificate in the Register of Births and Deaths of the adoptive parents can be made if it is proved to the satisfaction of the Registrar, that too in accordance with the other terms and conditions mentioned in Section 15 of the Act but the entry of a step-father, replacing the name of the biological father in the Birth Certificate maintained under the Act, cannot be made. Consequently, the present writ petition is hereby dismissed being denuded of any merit.
IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH
CORAM: Hon’ble Mr. Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain
CWP No.3560 of 2016 (O&M)
Date of decision:04.05.2016
Baljit Kumar …Petitioner
State of Punjab and others …Respondents
Present: Mr. Amit Verma, Advocate, for the petitioner.
Rakesh Kumar Jain, J.
The interesting question arising in this petition is as to whether name of a step-father, on the asking of his step-son, can be entered in the Birth Certificate, replacing the name of the biological father, in terms of
Section 15 of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969
The facts of this case are that the petitioner was born on 05.10.1993 from the lions of Harjinder Kumar and Surjit Kaur who got married on 16.02.1991. The entry of his birth was recorded in the Birth Certificate No.575 issued by the Additional District Registrar, Births & Deaths, Hoshiarpur as under:-
Government of Punjab Health & Family Welfare
Department Chief Registrar, Births & Deaths, Punjab
This is to certify that following information has been taken from the original record of birth as entered in the register maintained by the Local Registrar, Births and Deaths, Municipal Corporation/Council/Panchayat/Police Station/Block (P.H.C.) P.S. Sadar, Tehsil and District Hoshiarpur for the year 1993.
Name: Baljit Kumar
Father’s Name: Harjinder Kumar
Grand Father’s Name:Piara Lal
Date of Birth:5.10.1993
Place of Birth:Marnayan Khurd
Date of Registration No.:23.10.93
Address of parents at the time of birth of the child Permanent address of parents Remarks (if any)
Date of Issue Name & Designation of official who prepared certificate
Signature, name and address of the issuing authority Sd/- and Seal Additional District Registrar Births & Deaths Hoshiarpur”
The mother of the petitioner filed a petition under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 against her husband Harjinder Kumar bearing HMA Case RBT No.98 of 27.8.04/29.10.05 in the Court of Additional District Judge, Hoshiarpur, which was allowed on 06.06.2006 and their marriage was dissolved by a decree. Thereafter, the petitioner got the name of his step-father Surjit Singh recorded against his name in the records of the Punjab National Bank in which he maintains his account, Voter Identity Card issued by the Election Commission of India and also in the Adhar Card. However, the petitioner, in order to get the name of his step-father Surjit Singh incorporated in his Birth Certificate by replacing the name of his biological father, filed an application to the respondents.
Counsel for the petitioner has submitted that the entry in the Register of Birth can be corrected in terms of Section 15 of the Act and hence, the direction may be issued to the respondents to perform their statutory duty.
I have heard learned counsel for the petitioner and perused the available record.
There is no dispute that the petitioner is the son of Harjinder Kumar who is his biological father. The word “biological father” is defined in the Black’s Law Dictionary as “the man whose sperm impregnated the child’s biological mother”. Even otherwise, in the same dictionary, “biological parents” is provided as “the woman who provide the egg or the man who provides the sperm to form the zygote that grows into an embryo” which is also termed as “genetic parents”. On the other hand, the step- father is defined in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary as “a man who is married to one’s mother after the divorce of one’s parents or the death of one’s father”. Thus, there is no doubt that Harjinder Kumar was the biological father and Surjit Singh is the step-father of the petitioner.
Now the question is as to whether Section 15 of the Act can be invoked by the petitioner for correction of the entry in his Birth Certificate for incorporation of the name of his step-father in place of his biological father. In order to appreciate the controversy, it would be relevant to refer to Section 15 of the Act:-
15. Correction or cancellation of entry in the register of births and deaths.
If it is proved to the satisfaction of the Registrar that any entry of a birth or death in any register kept by him under this Act is erroneous in form or substance, or has been fraudulently or improperly made, he may, subject to such rules as may be made by the State Government with respect to the conditions on which and the circumstances in which such entries may be corrected or cancelled, correct the error or cancel the entry by suitable entry in the margin, without any alteration of the original entry, and shall sign the marginal entry and add thereto the date of the correction or cancellation.”
A bare perusal of the aforesaid provision shows that the applicant has to prove to the satisfaction of the Registrar about the error in the entry of a birth or death in form or substance which may crept in fraudulently or improperly, which can be corrected or cancelled by the Registrar by making suitable entry in the margin but without any alteration of the original entry and he shall sign the marginal entry and add thereto the date of the correction or cancellation.
The entry in the Birth Certificate of the petitioner, which was conveyed to the authorities on 23.10.1993 about birth of the petitioner on 05.10.1993 out of the wedlock of Harjinder Kumar and Surjit Kaur, is neither recorded fraudulently or improperly and is also not erroneous in form or substance. The mother of the petitioner has only divorced his biological father and after remarriage with Surjit Singh, he has become the stop-son of his step-father, who cannot replace the biological father but the things would have been different had it been a case of adoption because as per