SC seeks reply from interior ministry on ToRs
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought reply from the Ministry of Interior on the terms of references (ToRs) proposed regarding the removal of father’s name from official documents of a person.
Sardar Muhammad Latif Khan Khosa and Makhdoom Ali Khan, who were appointed as amici curiae (friends of court) by the court, had submitted the terms of reference in the case of Tatheer Fatima.
Fatima, a 22-year-old girl had prayed to the Supreme Court to permit her to be registered as a citizen of Pakistan without her father’s name appearing in any official record or identification documents.
They submitted that according to the applicable laws of Pakistan (i.e. the Pakistan Citizenship Act, 1951, Birth, Deaths and Marriage Registration Act, 1886, NADRA Ordinance, 2000, Passports Act, 1974, Provincial Motor Vehicles Ordinance, 1965), inclusion of a person’s father’s name in the official records is mandatory.
The name of a person’s father may be essential for the records of the State, for a variety of purposes, but there appears to be no reasonable explanation for displaying this information on the CNIC, passport and other identification documents of the individual. The burden is on the State to tell about reasons why such dissemination or display is necessary.
They proposed the terms of reference and solutions to which may be provided by the State: The State must formulate a policy that if a name of a parent of the child is not known, the name of the other parent which is known be used. If the name of neither parent is known, it should be so recorded. The necessary rules and forms may be amended, accordingly. A comprehensive report is submitted to the Court about the nature and extent of changes required and the time it will take to make these changes. If the State is of the view that there are State interests involved in not recording the information correctly in its records, it must give reasons to support such a view. Further, the State must explain why inserting an un-specified/fictional name in such a situation furthers State interests.
The State is duly bound to register even those persons whose fathers’ have abandoned them and/or have not included them in their family tree. Upon application for registration by such persons, the NADRA must conduct an inquiry to trace the father of such person. If the father is not identified, NADRA must nevertheless register these persons, after recording that the name of father is unknown. A comprehensive report must be submitted identifying the Rules and forms that need to be changed for this purpose and the time it will take to make these changes. If the State is of the view that there are State interests involved in not recording the information correctly in its records, it must give reasons to support such a view. Further, the State must explain why inserting an un-specified/fictional name in such a situation furthers the State interests.
The State must also explain its interest in displaying a person’s father’s name (or either parent’s name for that matter) on identification documents such as CNIC, driving licence, passport etc. While answering this question, the State must take notice that many states such as US, UK, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Canada, Kenya, UAE and others do not display the father’s name on identification documents of citizens.
It may also be noted that even in Pakistan, the name of father is not displayed on international driving licence. A comprehensive report must be submitted identifying the rules and forms that need to be changed and the time it will take to make these changes.