Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday made the following two statements with respect to passport.
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.
However, The Logical Indian checked the instructions for filling the passport application form and found that this was never a requirement. The announcement by PM Modi was misrepresented and got widely shared as an important news piece and many media houses published it without verifying any details about the same.
On the issue of name change, the instructions by Passport Seva on the application form clearly states that, for a woman who has retained her maiden name (the name a woman is given at birth) after marriage, nothing changes. Only those who have even “marginally changed” their name, have to specify the same, irrespective of the gender of the applicant.
Testimonies of several women in social media suggest the same, at the same time many women complained of harassment from passport officers because the women didn’t change their surname.
Wasn't that the case for many years now? I haven't changed my surname post marriage & had no issues with that when I renewed my passport. https://t.co/4iDW2ocKEX
Furthermore, to enable transparency in the law on a woman’s name after her marriage, the Bombay High Court in 2011 had amended a crucial rule under the Family Courts Act to prevent a woman from being compelled to file any marriage-related proceedings only in her husband’s surname.
A woman can file proceedings either in her maiden name, her name after marriage, or any other name she may have adopted, as long as it is officially registered in the gazette.
In his statement, PM Modi also said that “women need not submit marriage/divorce certificates for passports.” The Ministry Of External Affairs has introduced modifications in the rules for issuing the Passport in December 2016 which states that
“Married applicants would not be required to provide Annexure K or any marriage certificate,” the notification reads. “The Passport application form does not require the applicant to provide the name of her/his spouse in case of separated or divorced persons. Such applicants for passports would not be required to provide even the Divorce Decree.”
Only while applying for the passport of a minor, the notification says that it is mandatory to add the spouse’s name, in case it’s not already added in the past.
The Logical Indian Take
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. They went to the extent of saying that this is something new and has not existed before. The media not only misinterpreted but also misreported the PM’s speech.
It is not the intent of The Logical Indian to demean, belittle or cast doubt on the credibility of the mentioned legacy media outlets. The media is the fourth pillar of democracy and it holds limitless influence in a vibrant democracy like India. However, when mainstream media outlets engage in popularising false or fake news stories – when the mainstream media does not take it upon itself to fact-check every bit of news story that it publishes, it can have disastrous consequences on the national debate. This is especially significant because we live in an era where WhatsApp forwards and tweets (that don’t require verification or are not bound by journalistic ethics) are getting undue traction and following. In such a time, if even reputed mainstream outlets give into the shouting matches and falsehoods of false news, it negatively affects us all.
Retiring after spending 32 years in the Indian Army, Col Chris Rego is helping change the destinies of hundreds of children in conflict-affected North East India through his “White Bullets” initiative. With this initiative, he hopes to bring peace and progress to communities across North East India.
Luminouswanted to bring out the Colonel’s story to the world to inspire and motivate others as it believes that education is a strong tool to empower women. It is supporting Col Rego’s cause through an initiative called #Luminaries – the brave people who stand up for causes like girl child education and make a difference in the society.
Col Rego’s journey started over a decade ago in Manipur when a tribal woman knocked on his door pleading for support for her daughter’s education. Touched by the woman’s story, Col Rego and his wife delved into their savings and arranged for the money for the girl’s education. Two years down the line, the woman returned, this time with a small pumpkin and a shawl that she had knitted, and all the money she had borrowed. Moved and realizing that their money could make lives rather than earn paltry interest, Col and Mrs. Rego embarked on a journey to arrange for sponsorship of many more underprivileged children.
Retiring from the Army, Col Rego took over as CEO of Sunbird Trust, a not-for-profit organization which he founded in 2014. The Trust now sponsor over 1,000 children in 21 locations acrossNorth East India. The centre of Sunbird Trust’s activities is at beautiful Ijeirong, Manipur.
Recognizing Col Chris’s immense work, Luminousacknowledged him as their first Luminary. Through this, they hope to bring more power to his elbow in the notable work he is doing. The Luminousteam travelled to remote Ijeirong village and installed solar products. These solar products will help in providing power to the entire campus 24/7 for the very first time.
The Logical Indian salutes Col Christopher Rego for his untiring efforts and leadership. His efforts are already having a cascading effect on people from across India joining the “White Bullets” endeavour. Quite amazingly, education, in itself so empowering, is merely a means to PEACE. We hope the path illuminated by #Luminary Col Rego and his Sunbird Trust team acts as a beacon for others to follow.
If you too have stories of change, share them with us. And if you want to connect with Colonel Rego, click here.