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HC issues breakthrough rule allowing mothers as legal guardians

By :Staff Reporter
Published : Jan 24, 2023 03:20:00 PM | Latest

Mothers can now be sole legal guardians of their children, the High Court (HC) has ruled in a historic verdict.

Also, educational bodies and institutes will not be able to deny registration or admission to a student for failing to name their father.

The HC bench of Justice Naima Haider and Justice Md Khairul Alam passed the order on Tuesday.

The same bench, on 16 January, had fixed today to deliver a verdict on the much talked about the matter. 

Lawyers and human rights activists have lauded and welcomed the HC verdict and called it a "breakthrough" for gender equality.

Back in April 2007, as per media reports, Rajshahi Education Board refused to issue an admit card to an SSC examinee from Thakurgaon as the student failed to provide information about the father.

The girl in question was raised by her mother after her biological father left them.

Then on 2 August 2009, three human rights bodies – Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), Bangladesh Mahila Parishad and Naripokkho – jointly filed a writ in public interest for proper probe of the incident and legal guardianship of mothers of their children in such cases.

On the preliminary hearing of the writ, on 3 August of the same year, an HC bench issued a rule asking why the discriminatory provisions regarding guardianship should not be declared illegal and unconstitutional as it violates human rights and is a barrier to access to education.

The court had also asked for a list of the education boards that require information on both the father and mother of a student for registration and other paperwork.

The HC also ordered the concerned authorities to submit a report on the arrangements in place for students who are eligible to sit for a public exam but do not wish to disclose the name of their father.