Prayagraj (UP), May 31 (PTI) The Allahabad High Court has ruled that citizens have the right to keep or change their names according to personal preferences, and this comes within the ambit of the Constitution.
Justice Ajay Bhanot made the observation on a writ petition filed by one Sameer Rao challenging the UP Madhyamik Siksha Parishad's rejection of his application to get his name changed in the high school and intermediate examination certificates.
The high court directed the UP Madhyamik Siksha Parishad to allow the petitioner to change his name from "Shahnawaz" to "Mohammad Sameer Rao" and issue fresh high school and intermediate certificates incorporating the change.
"The authorities arbitrarily rejected the application for change of name and misdirected themselves in law. The action of the authorities violates the fundamental rights of the petitioner guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a), Article 21 and Article 14 of the Constitution of India," the court said.
The name of the petitioner was recorded as "Shahnawaz" in the examination certificates issued in 2013 and 2015 respectively. In 2020, the petitioner publicly disclosed that his name has been changed from "Shahnawaz" to "Mohammad Sameer Rao".
Thereafter, he applied for changing his name in the certificates which was declined by the regional secretary of the Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad's Bareilly office. Following this, the petitioner moved court.