Supreme Court ruling
A woman has the right to choose the child’s surname following the death of her spouse, and she cannot be forced to continue using the deceased’s surname in the child’s official records. The mother can give the kid the last name of her second spouse.
Stepfamily loyalty crisis
The degree to which a child would readily acknowledge an individual as a paternal figure & embrace their authority in the home depends greatly on the child’s age. Stepfather authority will be secondary if the kid is used to the mother being the head of the home. Stepfather must function within those bounds. In some scenarios, a stepparent may be considered an intrusive person who poses insecurity feeling to the kid.
There is an unbreakable link between the kid and the natural parent. The stepfather may sometimes have to make accommodations for the kid to maintain good relations with the parent.
It is important to appreciate the child’s strong bond with their biological father if that is the case. The child’s stepparents do not want to place children in a “loyalty dilemma.”
After the death of a natural parent
However, after the death of the biological father stepfather may develop an extra bonding with the child as there is no loyalty crisis. Stepfathers may cultivate a special bonding, like a biological parent with the child.
Indian society and surname
According to the microstructural sociological study of Indian culture, a child’s full name is significant since it gives them a sense of identity and distinguishes them from other members of society.
Continuing the biological father’s family name after the death may prevent a kid from developing a healthy, emotional bond with their stepfather by serving as a continual reminder of the adoption’s factum and subjecting the child to unwarranted queries from outsiders at school and neighborhood.
The mental health & self-respect of the kid will be hampered if the child’s father is referred to as the stepfather in official documents.
SC judgment dated 28 July 2022
The mother, who is the kid’s only natural guardian, has the right to choose the surname for the child, the Supreme Court of India reaffirmed to dispel any doubt.
According to Section 9(3) of the 1956 Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, the mother may put the children up for adoption if the kid’s biological father has passed away. According to a Supreme Court panel, the mother has the choice to put the kid up for adoption, and the stepfather has the option to adopt the child.
This ruling upholds a woman’s ability to serve as a minor’s natural guardian.
Strengthen family bonding
The Indian Supreme Court’s ruling in this matter is seen as a way to establish, maintain, and strengthen family ties in a compassionate setting.