May 16, 2013 will be an unforgettable day for a Chennai girl. On that date, the Madras High Court intervened to enable her to secure a seat for a course in Astrophysics in the National University of Singapore before the deadline.

The Regional Passport Office (RPO) here turned down a request to use her stepfather’s name in her passport. Following a petition, Justice M. Venugopal directed the RPO to receive the passport application and issue the document in accordance with law.

The girl’s mother, after obtaining divorce, had remarried. At the time of school admission, the stepfather’s name was given in the records. She completed Plus Two in a city school which had an arrangement with the National University of Singapore to select meritorious students for placement in the university.

The university staff came to the school and interviewed meritorious students, analysed their grades in Standard X.

She was provisionally selected for admission to the Astrophysics course. The university would give the admission slip only on production of the passport number. Trouble started for her after her mother could not register the passport application online as her birth certificate reflected her biological father’s name, while school records showed her stepfather’s name. Her mother met passport officials in May this year, but they said there was a need for a court direction to use her stepfather’s name in the passport.

Counsel R. Raman Laal said the girl should furnish the passport number before May 27. Failure to stick to the deadline would result in the cancellation of her selection.

Mr. Justice Venugopal considered the fact that the petitioner’s educational prospects should not be affected and also that she should furnish the passport number before a particular date to get admission. He said that on the basis of fair play, equity and even as a matter of prudence, the Judge said he was directing the RPO to receive the application and issue the passport by using the name of the girl’s stepfather in a manner known to law.


  • The university would give admission slip only on production of passport number

  • Judge directed RPO to receive application and issue passport


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