In the last two days, there have been numerous stories written about how women can now have their maiden name in the passport and not change it after marriage. Here’s a closer analysis of what the PM said and how it was interpreted by the media.
The PM made the following two statements with respect to passport in his speech
- It is not mandatory for a woman to submit her marriage certificate or divorce decree while applying for passport
- A woman can choose whether the name in the passport should be of her mother or the father and not both parents.
Let us examine both the statements
1. Submission of Certificates no more mandatory
The government in December 2016 had announced new passport rules. Among other things, the new rules include the following
- No affidavit or Marriage Certificate required for married applicants
- Name of Spouse not required for separated/divorced applicants. Such applicants for passports would not be required to provide even the Divorce Decree.
Hence this statement of the PM is true that the current government has simplified the passport rules and removed the mandatory rule about submission of marriage certificate or a divorce decree. This is not just for a woman, but is equally applicable to a man.
2. Did the PM say anything about the maiden name?
The second statement of the Prime Minister was about a woman’s choice of having her mother’s or father’s name in the passport. The statement had nothing to do with retaining the maiden name.
In fact, the PM’s statement was about another change in the rules made in December 2016. The change was made to make it easy for single parents to obtain passports for their children and to also issue passports where the name of either the father or the mother is not required to be printed at the request of the applicant.
Earlier, it was mandatory to mention both the father’s & mother’s name in the passport application. Again, this rule is not just for a woman, but for any single parent.
What about the Maiden name then?
Nothing changed with respect to the maiden name. A woman always had the choice to retain her maiden name or change it after marriage in the passport. She has to submit relevant proof in case of a change in name. Many women choose to retain their maiden name even after marriage and their passports reflect the same.
For a married woman/man, it is mandatory to fill in the name of the spouse in the passport application though it is not mandatory to submit the marriage certificate.
Misinterpreted & Misreported
The statements made by the PM are equally applicable to a woman as well as a man as per the new passport rules. Most media houses misinterpreted the PM’s second statement and reported as if he was referring to the woman’s maiden name in the passport. The mainstream media media not only misinterpreted but also misreported the PM’s speech.
The Logical Indian apologizes
In our yesterday’s coverage of the same issue, while we did talk about the factual inaccuracies and lack of fact check by the mainstream media while reporting this story, we failed to identify that the mainstream media has also misreported the PM’s statement at first place.
Upon closer analysis we found that in addition to the factually inaccurate news of ‘how women can now have their maiden name in the passport’ being carried out by various media outlets, the PM’s statement was itself misreported at first place, further it was misinterpreted.
While the entire fault lies with the mainstream media, but this wasn’t clearly conveyed in our coverage. It might have appeared to some of our readers that the PM is also shown in bad light to some extent for making false and misleading statements, we sincerely apologise to our readers for the same.
We strive to bring you news and stories that matters and makes sense. We request our readers to report error, whenever you find anything wrong or incorrect in our article.
Our friends at Factly have come with a detailed analysis of the entire scenario. You may have a look at it here.