Childbirth in India, as much as is considered a social event, also involves legal procedures to be complied with. As soon as a child is born, it is imperative to establish the identity if the child. This can be done by registering the childbirth with the prescribed Government authority and by obtaining the necessary government ID proofs like Aadhar card and Passport. This submission discusses about the legal formalities to be performed when a baby is born.
Birth Certificate in India:
Legal Sanctity of a Birth Certificate
Birth certificate is a conclusive proof of age, the same being an entry in the public record as per Section 35 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.[i] S.7A of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000 read with Rule 12 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Rules, 2007 also recognizes the birth certificate submitted to the first attended school and the birth certificate given by a corporation, municipality or panchayat as second and third standards of proof respectively, the first being matriculation certificate.[ii]
Necessity for Birth Certificate
The birth certificate is very important for a child’s admission to schools or colleges, hospital benefits and in establishing inheritance and property claims. It is the first right of a child and establishes his or her identity. It becomes important for the following processes:
- Establishing age for insurance reasons
- Proving parentage
- Age proof for employment
- Age proof for marriage
- Admission to schools/colleges
- Establishing age for enrolling in Electoral Rolls
- Registering in NPR (National Population Register)
- Application for a passport
- Immigration requirements (like getting a green card)
A person without a birth certificate will not be identified as an Indian citizen & will not be eligible to reap all the benefits/ rights.[iii]
Background of Statutory enactment governing Birth Certificates:
The history of Civil Registration System (CRS) in India dates back to the middle of the 19th century. In 1886 a Central Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act was promulgated to provide for voluntary registration throughout British India.
Post-independence, the Registration of Births and Death Act (RBD Act) was enacted in 1969 to promote uniformity and comparability in the registration of Births and Deaths across the country and compilation of vital statistics based thereon. With the enactment of the Act, registration of births, deaths and still births has become mandatory in India. The Registrar General, India (RGI) at the Central Government level coordinates and unifies the activities of registration throughout the country. However, the power to implement the statute is vested with the State Governments. The registration of births and deaths in the country is done by the functionaries appointed by the State Governments. Directorate of Census Operations, subordinate to the RGI, is responsible for monitoring the working of the Act in their concerned State/UT.[iv]
Process to be followed for obtaining a birth certificate:
The process to be followed differs from State to State since every state has its own rule making power conferred on it by the statute.[v] Hence, it is essential to verify the relevant requirements before commencing the process. The birth certificate has to be applied for by the parents’ of the child or the nearest family member. The generalized process is as follows:
1. Get a birth Certificate Registration Form from the concerned registrar’s office or download it online. When a child is born in a hospital, the form is provided by the ‘Medical Officer Incharge’ of the hospital.
2. Fill the form and submit to the Registrar. Documents such as Birth report provided by the hospital where the birth took place and Identity proofs of the parents are required.
3. Once the verification of the birth records (date, time, place of birth, parent’s ID proof, nursing home etc.) is done by the registrar, birth certificate is issued to the applicant.
4. A birth certificate can be obtained without the name of the child. In such cases, the name can be entered by the concerned registration authority without any charge within 12 months and by charging the prescribed fee up to 15 years (from the date of registration).[vi]
Time period for registration of birth:
The following is the usual time period within which the birth has to be registered.
Within 21 days – by filing the relevant form with the concerned local authorities. Certificate is issued by verification of hospital records.
Later than 21 days but within the time specified – Certificate is issued after conducting police inquiry and is directed by revenue authorities.
Later than the time specified but within one year – By paying nominal late fee.
Later than one year – the registration can be made any time by submitting the affidavit before first class magistrate or executive magistrate. The magistrate verifies the details of affidavit and if found satisfactory, issues the order to Registrar to enter the entries of birth in birth register. The format of affidavit is available at the Registrar office and also with a notary. In this process Registrar will ask to deposit the late fee amount in his office. A self attested copy of Matriculation certificate, Aadhar card, and PAN card if attached with the affidavit will help in easy completion of the process.
Who can register the birth of a child?
S.8 of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 lays down the following:
1. When birth has taken place in a house: Head of the house or nearest relative of the head of the House or oldest person in the family can register the birth of a child.
2. When birth took place in a Hospital/Sub-Divisional Hospital/Medical College Hospital/Referral Hospital: Deputy Superintendent of the hospitals and officers In-charge of referral hospital and PHCs.
3. In Maternity Home and other like Institution: Medical officer In-charge.
4. In a Jail: Jail In-charge.
5. In a Dharmshala, Boarding House etc: Person In-charge.
6. In a Moving Vehicle: Person In-charge of the Vehicle.
7. Found deserted in a public place: Headman of the Village/In-charge of the local police station.
Sec.9 gives a special provision to childbirths in plantations, which is to be registered by the superintendent of the plantation.
Aadhar Card for Babies in India[vii]
Aadhar can be obtained even for a new born baby in India. Aadhar for a child is also known as “Baal Aadhar” and is blue in color. The importance of having an Aadhar for a child is multifarious. Right from applying for school admission to gaining the benefit of government sponsored schemes like the midday meal scheme, it is imperative to have Aadhar card.
You may visit the nearest Aadhar centre to enroll your child. The parent or guardian’s Aadhar along with the child’s birth certificate is required to enroll your kid for Aadhar. Biometric will not be collected from kids up to the age of five. The kid’s Aadhar will be linked to her/his parent’s Aadhar. At the age of 5, the biometrics will be obtained and will be attached to the Aadhar of the child which in turn has to be linked to the parent’s aadhar. After the child attains fifteen years of age, again biometric will be obtained and will be attached to the Aadhar of the child. After this, it need not be linked with the aadhar of the parent.
Passport for babies in India:
Endorsement of child’s name in parent’s passports is not allowed anymore. As per the amended instructions, a minor should have a separate passport.[viii]
The following are the steps to be followed to obtain a passport for a baby in India:
1. Obtain a birth certificate for the child.
2. Create an online account in the name of the child in the passport website.
3. Choose the nearest PSK (Passport Seva Kendra).
4. Get an appointment fixed.
5. Arrange the appropriate original documents – Birth Certificate, Address Proof, Passport size photos, Annexure documents as the case may be, Printed copy of appointment receipt and Parents’ marriage certificate.
6. Attend the passport interview with the child.
Note: It is necessary that either parent/legal guardian should give his/her consent while applying for minor’s passport. The relevant annexure has to be submitted in the appropriate case:
Documents to be submitted
Passport application of a minor with consent of both parents
Applied by Legal Guardian
Minors with single parent (One parent deceased)
Applied by one parent/guardian when consent of one or both parents is not possible
After a baby is born, it is mandatory to obtain a birth certificate to establish the identity of the child; it is advisable to obtain the Baal Aadhar for the purpose of school admissions and government scheme benefits; it is optional to get a passport. As parents/legal guardians, it is important to comply with all the legal formalities to make the life of the child hassle-free in the future.
Edited by Pragash Boopal
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje
[i] Ishwarlal Mohanlal Thakkar v. Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Ltd. and another, Civil Appeal No.4558 of 2014 (Supreme Court).
[ii] Ashwani Kumar Saxena v. State of M.P., (2012) 9 SCC 750.
[v] S.30, Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969.
[vi] S.14, Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969.