HC recognises mothers as legal guardians of students too

Previously, students needed to name their fathers as their legal guardians on forms related to public exams

Senior Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 24 Jan 2023, 11:40 AM
Updated : 24 Jan 2023, 11:40 AM

The High Court has ruled that mothers will also be recognised as legal guardians of children on official documents relating to educational institutions, expanding options for guardianship in a landmark judgement.

Justice Naima Haider and Justice Md Khairul Alam passed the judgment on Tuesday after the final hearing in a writ petition filed over a decade ago.

Previously, only fathers were recognised as the legal guardians of students on forms. From now on, two more options -- the names of the mother and the legal guardian -- will be available.

When the writ petition was filed 14 years ago, it was mandatory for students to put down their fathers' names as the legal guardians on forms, followed by the mothers' names, according to lawyer Ainun Nahar Siddiqui, who attended the hearing on behalf of the petitioner.

"The High Court has now said it will be sufficient to write down the names of either the father, the mother, or the legal guardian in official forms," she said.

Lawyers MM Rezaul Karim and Ayesha Akhter also represented the petitioner in court, while Deputy Attorney General Amit Dasgupta appeared for the state.

In March 2007, the Rajshahi Education Board refused to issue an admit card to a girl from Thakurgaon as she could not fill in her father's name in the Student Information Form for the SSC exam. But this was because the child's father had left her and her mother without giving them any formal recognition of their relationship. She was subsequently raised solely by her mother.

Later in August 2009, three rights organisations, Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad and Nari Paksha, filed a public interest writ petition at the High Court, demanding that mothers also be recognised as legal guardians of children.

After the first hearing, the panel of Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed and Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury issued a rule asking why the provision should not be declared illegal and unconstitutional.

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