Nooreen Haider & Rishima Rawat analyse the case of ABC v. The State ( NCT of Delhi).
The Guardians and Wards Act is a secular legislation regulating issues of guardianship and custody of children. The primary objective of the act is the welfare of the child. All the provisions in the act are guided by this principle. However, the laws regarding guardianship of the child, if not custody, give primacy to the father over the mother. In the case of ABC v. The State (NCT of Delhi), the Supreme Court while addressing a single, unwed mothers’ petition upheld the right of an unwed mother to become the sole guardian of her child under section 11 without the consent of the father. The court noted the predicament of the mother who did not want to disclose the name of the father but was forced to do so under the present law. The paper is an analysis of this case. It discusses the reasoning of the court and its reading of various other legislations and case laws to uphold the welfare of the child and give effect to the legislative intent. It argues that even though the judgment is a progressive reading of the law, its impact is limited to the procedure laid down by the act and not a conclusive reading of the rights of an unwed mother.