Judge names child after estranged inter-faith couple take battle to High Court

In an unusual case, the Kerala High Court has christened a child of an estranged couple belonging to different religions after they fought over the matter.
The court intervened after both father and mother, locked in a matrimonial dispute, were aggrieved by the “inaction” on the part of the municipality to issue a birth certificate in respect of their second child showing the name as per their respective wishes.

While the mother said the child was baptised as ‘Johan Mani Sachin’, the father claimed that the name that they agreed to was ‘Abhinav Sachin.’

Abhinav Sachin was the name given to their second child on the 28th day ceremony (as per Hindu practice in Kerala for naming the newborn), the father had informed the court.

The court observed that it was an urgent requirement that a name be given to the child so that he could be admitted to a school, where a birth certificate would be a pre-requisite for admission.

Counsel for the mother submitted that although the name given in the baptism certificate pertaining to the second child is ‘Johan Mani Sachin’, she was ready to give up the name ‘Mani’ in a gesture of reconciliation with the father.

The father, however, insisted that the name ‘Abhinav’ be retained in the place of ‘Johan’.

In his judgment recently, Justice A K Jayasankaran Nambiar took note of the differences between the parents. “….. as a conciliatory measure and with a view to pacify both the parents of the child, it would be in the interests of justice to accede to the wishes of both the parents to the extent possible and therefore, assign the name ‘Johan Sachin’ to the second child of the petitioners in both these writ petitions,” the judge said.

The judge said the name ‘Johan’ would represent the wishes of the mother and the name ‘Sachin’ as a surname would satisfy the requirement of the father as it would identify the child as his.

Justice Jayasankaran said this course of action would be in the interests of the minor child, who is now in the mother’s custody, with occasional custody granted to the father as per the directions of the family court, where the matrimonial dispute is pending.

Disposing of the writ petitions, the judge directed the Registrar (Births & Deaths) to issue the certificate within a period of two weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of the judgment.

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