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Rayaan Chawla vs. University Of Delhi & Anr. - (High Court of Delhi) (06 Nov 2020)

Right to change a name is a protected right and the petitioner would normally be not denied the said right on technical issues



Present writ petition is filed by the Petitioner seeking quashing of the Notification issued by Respondent No.1/University of Delhi in so far as it makes it mandatory for a student to obtain change of name in the records of the Central Board of Secondary Education ('CBSE') as a pre-requisite for change of name in the records of Respondent No.1/University of Delhi. Change is also sought in the name of the Petitioner in the records of Respondent No.1/University of Delhi.

The Petitioner has strongly relied upon judgment of the Division Bench of present Court in the case of Jigya Yadav v. CBSE, to plead that, the Division Bench has clearly held that, the change of name can only take place with effect from the date when the name is changed and not from a backdate. It is pleaded that, the stand of Respondent No.1/University of Delhi of insisting that the change of name be done in the CBSE records tantamounts to doing the impossible task.

To have a name and to express the same in the manner he wishes, is a part of the right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19 (1) (a) as well as right to liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, 1950. It cannot be denied that the right to change a name is a protected right and the petitioner would normally be not denied the said right on technical issues.

Normally a person would have a right to have his name changed subject to fulfilment of appropriate formalities/procedures to ensure that, there is no misuse or confusion created on account of the change in name. The change of name is prospective. The insistence of Respondent No.1/University of Delhi to interpret the appropriate Resolution of the Executive Council/Notification dated 1st July, 2015 read with 16th December, 2015 to insist that though the name is being changed in 2019, the petitioner must first get the certificates issued by CBSE in 2018 i.e. prior to the change of name also changed appears to be a misplaced interpretation of the said provision. The Petitioner cannot be asked to do the impossible as the names as reflected in the Class 10th and 12th certificates cannot be changed as there is no change of name retrospectively. A meaningful interpretation has to be given to the aforesaid Notifications dated 1st July, 2015 and 16th December, 2015/Resolution of Respondent No.1 so that it does not seek or does not direct the petitioner to perform an impossible task.

As the change of name is with effect from August/September, 2019 i.e. much after the Class 10th and 12th certificates issued by CBSE, Respondent No.1 cannot in these peculiar facts and circumstances insist that, the Petitioner should also get his name changed in the records of CBSE/in the Class 10th and 12th certificates.

If respondent No.1/ University of Delhi was to change the name in their record and in the degree to be given to the Petitioner as Rayaan Chawla, it would create some confusion as the CBSE certificates/records, would show the name of Rayaan Singh, i.e. the former name of the Petitioner. In the facts and circumstances, the answer lies in the resolution dated 1st July, 2015. The same provides that, on change of name, it would be stated as "changed name alias/nee earlier name". It would be appropriate that, Respondent No.1/University of Delhi may change the name of the Petitioner in their records/in the degree that may be given in future to the Petitioner. Such a course of action would avoid any confusion in the two names, which would be seen on the records of CBSE and of University of Delhi/appropriate documents issued by the said entities. Petition disposed off.


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