Allahabad High court: Name change is a part of freedom of expression under Article 19 and Article 21 of the Indian Constitution

The Allahabad High Court held that freedom of expression under article 19 (1)(a) also covers the right to change of name. A person’s name is his/her right of expression. Article 19 includes all forms of expressions in the world. A name is the strongest expression in the pool of expressions.

A writ petition was filed by a student writing CBSE exams. He had given a notice to Official Gazette for changing his name from Rishu Jaiswal to Kabir Jaiswal. He also submitted that the identification proof like Aadhar card, Pan Card were also changed with his new name. He has also got official notifications for all the documents. The petitioner approached the CBSE board to change his name in certificates. But, the name change was denied by the board on the basis of school records. The counsel for petitioner contended that the official gazette notification has been issued and his name has been changed in all official documents. The notifications were rejected by the board on “hyper technical” bases.

The court held that the name of the individual has to be changed and it’s his freedom of expression guaranteed under Article 19 and 21. It also directed the board to change records and certificates as “Kabir Jaiswal alias/nee Rishu Jaiswal” within 2 months.

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