BY SAM ALFAN.
Children born out of wedlock can now have their birth certificates bear the name of their fathers with or without their consent.
This is after a hard hitting judgement was entered by the court saying that all children born out of wedlock must be allowed to bear the names of their fathers.
Justice Mumbi Ngugi also nullified section 12 of the registration of births and deaths and declared it unconstitutional.
She delivered the ruling in a case where a single mother had sought orders from the courts to have children born out of wedlock bear the names of their fathers.
The current law has given the provision of having the names of such fathers appear only with consent.
However, judge Ngugi who was adjudicating her last case in Nairobi pending her transfer to Kericho ordered the registrar of births and deaths to ensure that the entry of names is done in the next 45 days saying that such children undergo unnecessary discrimination as a result of their parent’s marital status.
Although the judge agreed with the Attorney-General defense on the law saying it was aimed at protecting men from “unscrupulous women”, she said it needs to be changed to protect the rights of every child regardless of the marital status of their parents as per section 53 which explains the best interest of the child principle as follows.
Every child has the right to a name and nationality from birth, free and compulsory basic education, basic nutrition, shelter and health care, be protected from abuse, neglect, harmful cultural practices, all forms of violence, inhuman treatment and punishment or hazardous or exploitative labor, parental care and protection which includes equal responsibility of both the mother and father whether married or not among others.
Judge Ngugi said the burden of children born out of wedlock has for a long time been placed on women.