The High Court on Tuesday cleared the way for the students to fill up their Student Information Form (SIF) by mentioning any of the three options- father or mother or legal guardian- in the blank fixed to write the name of the guardian.
The High Court has directed the bodies concerned to add the option of 'father' or 'mother' or 'any legal guardian' by amending the SIF at various levels in the educational institutions.
In the observation, the HC said it will be sufficient if students mention their mother's name only when filling out a student information form for examinations, and they cannot be forced to mention their father's name against their will.
Forms with the name of the student's mother or any legal guardian instead of the father must be accepted, the court also said in its observation.
The High Court bench of Justice Naima Haider and Justice Md Khairul Alam delivered the verdict after final hearing on a writ petition filed challenging refusals by different boards of education to issue registration cards to the SSC and HSC candidates, who could not complete the SIFs with names of their fathers and mothers.
The HC said all citizens have the right to get an education and job under the Constitution.
Students may have difficulties in mentioning their father's name in the SIF and if they are not allowed to complete the SIF due to omitting their father's name, they will be deprived of education which is contrary to their fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution, the court said.
Lawyer Aynunnahar Siddiqua who appeared in the court hearing for the writ petitioners said, "Mothers' rights have been partially established following the judgment. And the right of education of any child without identity of his/her parents has also been guaranteed by it."
A report was published on March 28 in 2007 in a Bangla daily saying that study of a girl was stopped, as she didn't mentioned father's identity in the SIF.
Three rights organisations, Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), Bangladesh Mahila Parishad and Naripokkho submitted the petition with the HC as a public interest litigation in 2009 challenging the issue.
After primary hearing on the writ petition, the High Court on August 3 that year issued a rule regarding the issue.
Aysha Akter, another counsel for the writ petitioners, said, "Rajshahi education board authorities cancelled the SSC registration form of a student as she could not give her father's name in the registration form. Then it was mandatory to write the name of father and mother as guardian of the student. The writ was filed challenging this discriminatory provision."
"The names of father and mother still have to be written as the guardians at every level of education. In the verdict, the High Court said that all forms of the educational institutions including registration forms can be filled by mentioning the name of father or mother or legal guardian. This instruction has been given to all education boards and also to the Ministry of Education," added the lawyer.
Deputy Attorney General Amit Das Gupta who represented the state during the hearing of the case said the HC also declared illegal and unconstitutional the refusal to provide admit cards to SSC and HSC candidates who have not used their father's name in the SIF.
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