Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that women need not change their names in passports after their marriage. “From now onwards, women will not have to change their names in the passport after their marriage,” Modi told a gathering of the Indian Merchants Chambers’ ladies wing, The Mint reported today.
However, as the instructions for filling the passport application form and the testimonies of several women on social media suggest, this was never a requirement. On the issue of name change, the instructions booklet of the passport application form on the Passport Seva website says: “This will be applicable to an applicant who has even marginally changed the name or a female who has changed her name or surname after marriage”.
This means that if a woman kept her maiden name, nothing changes in the passport application process.
They can retain their maiden names on passports even now, actually https://t.co/yc9Pn1qXU9— Nistula Hebbar (@nistula) April 13, 2017
Under the law it's entirely up to the woman whether she wants to change her name after marriage forget about the passport! https://t.co/7KwerDLBIl— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) April 13, 2017
Wasn't that the case for many years now? I haven't changed my surname post marriage & had no issues with that when I renewed my passport. https://t.co/4iDW2ocKEX— Renuka Shahane (@renukash) April 13, 2017
Never really had to change my name on passport or anywhere else. Purely for the sake of adding a new address had to add the husbands name.— Phoenix (@EsotericPhoenix) April 13, 2017
@TimesNow Whats new in this it was never mandatory i still have maiden name in my passport with my husband name endorsed in spouse details— Pinky (@pinkeeisin) April 13, 2017
@rajiv_bantwal can you pl explain to me how this is different from earlier position? I have kept my maiden name in passport and everywhere for 20+ yrs.— kavitharao (@kavitharao) April 13, 2017
It's never been mandatory. I have a passport with my maiden name. Got it after getting married. https://t.co/Az3EIJ6Qei— Accidental Writer (@accidentlwriter) April 13, 2017
Women generally have been complaining of harassment while applying for passports, The Wire reported in July 2016.
The Prime Minister also said that “women don't have to submit marriage/divorce certificate for passport”.
Women don't have to submit marriage/divorce certificate for passport. It'll be their discretion to use father/mother's name in passport: PM pic.twitter.com/EsKwbv3BIc— ANI (@ANI_news) April 13, 2017
It appears that PM Modi is referring to the changes in the passport rules notified by the external affairs ministry in December 2016.
“Married applicants would not be required to provide Annexure K or any marriage certificate,” the notification said. “The Passport application form does not require the applicant to provide the name of her/his spouse in case of separated or divorced persons. Such applicants for passports would not be required to provide even the Divorce Decree.”
The ministry has now made it easy for men/women going through separation to remove the name of their spouses by filing an affidavit, The Wire reported.
However, when applying for the passport of a minor, the instructions say, “If parent(s) hold a valid passport, but spouse name is not endorsed, then they must get the spouse name added in their passport. For this they have to apply for a reissue of passport and get the specified change in personal particulars”.
The form to declare the spouse’s name when applying for reissue does not mention a marriage certificate, but it is unclear if the affidavit alone will suffice.