MP schools can’t ask kids of rape survivors ‘who’s your father’

BHOPAL: Schools in Madhya Pradesh — government and private — can no longer insist on the name of the biological father if a child seeking admission is born to a rape survivor or abandoned by his dad.

The school education department has written to collectors of all districts to pass on this directive to schools. Principal secretary for school education Deepti Gaur Mukherji told TOI that this decision was taken on the recommendations of the state human rights commission. No school can deny admission to a child whose mother is a rape survivor, she said.
“Single mothers who are rape survivors can seek admission for their children in any school, private and government. We have decided that the father’s name will not be compulsory in these cases. This will be implemented with immediate effect,” Mukherji said. She believes this is the first initiative of its kind in the country. “I don’t think any other state has taken such a decision so far. The mother’s name will be enough for admission. It’s being done for rape survivors for now. If we get an application where a divorced woman does not want to mention the child’s father name, we will take a decision after legal consultation,” she added.

Collectors and police have been asked to inform the school education department in case a rape survivor wants to get her child admitted to school. The mother can directly approach the administration for help in admission and officials must be on the lookout for information on such mothers, it says. Schools that deny admission to such kids will face legal action, Mukherji said.
Official sources said that there is a rise in the number of single-parent children due to various reasons — divorce, abandonment and heinous crimes like rape and gangrape. In July last year, a boy born after the gangrape of a woman in a Madhya Pradesh village was denied admission, because the schools said there was no clarity regarding his father in his birth certificate. The ‘unwed’ mother and his son kept knocking at the doors of local administration in Dindori for justice. According to official reports, local panchayat secretary P H Paraste mentioned the names of the three rape accused in the column for the father’s name in the boy’s birth certificate. The woman had no option but to submit this for his school admission.