“What is in a name? That which we call a Rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Wrote William Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet. Little did he know how people are fascinated by different names. People these days, especially Indians, change their names for various reasons ranging from the patriarchal reason of including the husband’s name after marriage to fantasizing and fanciful reasons like numerology and astrology. Hence, it is important to know the procedure to change one’s name legally in India. This submission discusses on the procedure for a legal name change in India.
Procedure to be followed for change of name in India:
The primary way in which the people around us know us is by way of our names. Hence, if we intend to change our names it is important to make the world known about such change. There is no law in particular that deals with this process. However, there is a general practice that is followed.
The Department of Personnel and Training, Ministry of Home Affairs by way of an Office Memorandum (OM) cited as O. M. No. 190016 / 1 / 87 – Estt. Dated 12/03/1987 laid down a basic procedure which has to be followed by Government Employees. It also provided a proforma Affidavit as an Annexure. This is taken as a guideline and is followed for everyone.
The simple three steps to be followed are as follows –
2. News Paper Publication.
3. Gazette Notification.
After this, a person shall be known by his new name. Once the new name kicks in, it is also important to change the personal details in all other official records.
This process will now be discussed in detail.
The first step is to submit an Affidavit to a First Class Magistrate/Notary Public/Oath Commissioner in the District court.
Affidavit shall include affirmation and declaration in the case of persons by aw allowed to affirm or declare instead of swearing.[i] It is a written statement in the name of a person, called the deponent by whom it is voluntarily signed and sworn to or affirmed.
The Affidavit should be drawn on a stamp paper, the value of which depends on the state the individual resides (Stamp Duty is in the Concurrent List – Entry 44). The details you must mention in the Affidavit are:
1. Your Previous Name,
2. Current Name,
3. Your Complete Address,
4. Reason for Change of Name.
If a woman changes her name post-marriage, her affidavit shall include the following –
- Current Name with Husband’s Name and Current Postal Address,
- Previous Name with Father’s Name and Father’s Postal Address,
- Date of Marriage.
Once the affidavit is printed on a plain stamp paper, it needs to be signed by two witnesses. The legal procedure is to get it signed by two persons of gazette officer rank. Ensure that you have their signature, along with their stamp (rubber stamp).It is suggested to use the legal expertise of an advocate for drafting the affidavit properly.
A proof of Indian citizenship would be required to be attested along with the affidavit. You will also need two passport sized attested photographs with the notary and pasted separately on an A4 paper.
Get a few photo copies of the affidavit and the annexed papers, since it is a crucial document and comes in handy for any future legal formalities. If possible, get an electronic copy too and keep it safely.
For overseas Indians, who would like to change their name, one needs to submit a deed stating the change of name, duly signed by the Indian High Commission office or the Indian Embassy.
After an affidavit has been sworn before the relevant authority, the name change has to be advertised / published in two newspapers – one vernacular paper of the state in which the person resides and another in English. A front page advertisement is not necessary. Normally newspapers have separate columns for these kinds of notifications and will guide you through the process.
The following is the format in which the newspaper publication would normally be –
I, XYZ, residing at__________ , have changed my name to ABC, and will be known as ABC from here on in. I have submitted an affidavit to this effect, which was signed by _______ on _______.
After it has been published collect as many hard copies as possible. Also scan and mail yourself for future reference.
The last step is to get your Change of Name published in the Gazette of India. For This Procedure, you will need to send a few documents in an Envelope to the following address:
Controller of Publication,
Department of Publication,
Civil Lines, Delhi-54
The name change gazette notification is mandatory for those in employment with the government and optional for others. However, it is substantial proof of your name change. Hence, it is urged to follow this procedure.
Documents required to be submitted for Gazette Notification –
1. Deed changing name form.
2. Specimen Name Change details printed in a separate paper, signed by the applicant and two witnesses. (Similar specimen as that of the newspaper advertisement).
3. Original copies of advertisements published, with the dates.
4. Attested copy of the name changing affidavit.
5. Two attested photographs.
6. ID proof and address proof.
Once the gazette notification has been done, the name has been changed officially.
After you have successfully changed your name, you will have to update you official documents (e.g.-Passport, PAN Card, Driving License, and Ration Card).
Copies of the Affidavit, Newspaper publication and the Gazette notification are enough to get these documents changed.
Following these procedures meticulously saves time and money in the future. It also makes the word, at large, know about such name change. After all, our names are those that belong to us but are used by others more than ourselves.
Edited by Pragash Boopal
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje
[i] S.3(3), General Clauses Act, 1897.