Published: 06th August 2021
Why don't school regulatory bodies change students’ names on certificates?
The Supreme Court recently asked the CBSE to allow students to make changes to their names. Why did the CBSE have restrictions on it, and what were there the court's objections to the same?
"What is in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” – William Shakespeare (1564-1616), English dramatic poet in Romeo and Juliet.
Despite the poet’s soothing assurance, proper names of persons have much hanging on them, especially in modern legal matters and quest for higher education. For instance, the name written on certificates or degrees or mark-sheets have great value when one submits them for higher degree courses.
But there are instances, such as when parents are divorced or husband deserts wife and children, the wife may revert to her maiden surname and also tag on her revived surname to her children. There could be other such reasons.
In such situations, the mother or guardian may approach the school regulating bodies, like Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to amend the school (passing) certificates to conform to changed name (surname) which is an important document while going in for higher education or for seeking employment.
Apparently CBSE has been acting difficult in name-changing and the related litigation had reached the Supreme Court which delivered its judgment on June 3, 2021 on a batch of 22 petitions questioning the validity of CBSE’s bylaw which put restrictions in corrections of names of students.
For changing names, students can give documents such as passport and Aadhaar, but the names should be consistent with all other formal records. CBSE students can now request for name change in their school certificates, the Supreme Court said, and told the education board to tweak its rules that don't allow name change in the document.
"Right to identity is part of freedom of expression," a three-judge bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari said. "CBSE students can seek change of their own or their parents' names," it said.
The by-laws of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) that say students cannot ask for name change in school certificates are "not valid in law", the Supreme Court said. "CBSE by-laws cannot override provisions of the Constitution." The court told the CBSE to amend its by-laws to accept request for name change by students for their benefit.
The subject is open to many views (despite the SC judgment). What are yours?