Mother’s name valid as legal guardian in educational documents: Bangladesh High Court

In a historic judgement, the High Court of Bangladesh has ruled that mother’s name will be accepted as the legal guardian in educational documents if the person does not want to mention father’s name or is unable to do so for any reason.

The judgement was passed by the High Court Division bench of Justice Naima Haider and Justice Md. Khairul Alam on Tuesday. The judges remarked that under the constitution everyone is entitled to get education and seek employment. Forms with the name of the student’s mother or any other legal guardian instead of the father must be accepted, observed the judges.

The case was filed after a student in Rajshahi was refused the admit card to appear for the SSC examination in April 2007 as she could not fill father’s name in the form as required by the board. The girl was raised by her mother after being abandoned by her father. Some organisations working for the rights of children and women filed the case in 2009 demanding recognition of the mother’s right as the legal guardian of the child.

While the judgement was welcomed by organisations working for women’s and children’s rights, it is not clear whether it will be applicable to other documents like passports etc. as the full text of judgement is yet to come out.

Speaking to Prasar Bharti Special Correspondent in Dhaka, Founder Executive Director of Bangladesh Nari Progoti Sangha Rokeya Kabir hailed the judgement as an important step in ensuring rights of women in the country. She said Bangladesh is moving gradually towards removing gender disparity through such steps.

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