Author : Pallavi Mohta
What do you do when your Pandit asks you to put an A or S or any other alphabet between your name to change your “star key constellation (Nakshatra) and their positions (Taaro ki Dasha)”? Or when you simply realize that you want to change your name to something else, perhaps because it looks more attractive in the business you are in? Or when you get married, you are asked to put your husband’s last name with your name by the virtue of being in a patriarchal family? Or someone who had a long and boring day at work, misspelled your name on the matriculation certificate?
These are some common examples where you may need to change your name with a legal seal. In today’s times, people, especially Indians, change their names for numerous reasons. First and foremost being the patriarchy reason which includes the husband’s name after marriage. Other reasons include numerology and astrology. They believe in Vastu-Shastra, in numerology and it is common for women in many communities to change their first and last names after marriage. Therefore, it is important to know the process of changing one’s name legally, in India.
One major question that arises while getting your name changed is, “How long will it take?” Should you hire an advocate or it can be done on your own? By the end of this article, we will have a better idea of how to do this. The first condition for changing your name is that you should be over 18 years old. For minors, the parent or the guardian can fulfil the requirements and get the procedure done on their behalf.
The legal procedure for changing the name in India is as follows-
1. Prepare an affidavit for the name change:
An affidavit is prepared in the first step of the legal name change process, which serves as a meaningful written statement of fact made by a person under oath granted to him by a person authorized to do so by law.
It can be used to change a full name, a surname or just some letters. The person must submit the affidavit to the first class magistrate / notary / oath commissioner at the district court with the help of an attorney.
Therefore, you need to contact your local notary and consult the order to change your name. Subsequently, the notary will indicate the stamp of the requested document, on the basis of which the applicant must include details such as the old name, the proposed new name, the reason for the name change (marriage, divorce, religion, numerology, sex reassignment, etc. ) and the applicant’s current address.
When a married woman wants to change her surname or add her husband’s name, she must provide the following information:
1. Old name with father’s name and address;
2. New name with husband’s name and address;
3. Date of marriage.
Print the affidavit on stamp paper and have it signed correctly by two witnesses. The legal process consists of obtaining a seal (rubber stamp) signed by two people in the position of the Official Gazette. This document should be kept for any future legal proceedings or formalities.
2. Get an advertisement published in a newspaper:
The second step to change your name legally is to get a notice or an advertisement published in the official government language as well as in English in at least two or three newspapers.
The disclosure of the notice serves to make the name change publicly visible so that a person can show the official announcement of the name change in the event of a subsequent contradiction.
Therefore, the newspaper copies as well as their scanned copies should be kept very carefully. The notice or the advertisement will include the applicant’s old name and new name, full residential address, name of the witness officer, and affidavit’s date.
If the applicant is a government employee, he must file a deed to change the name according to the rules of memorandum No. 19016/01/87 which is issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs. If the applicant is an Indian who is living overseas, then it is necessary to submit the deed certified by the Embassy of India or the High Commissioner of India to the Authority in its original form.
The following template format is used to advertise a new name in a newspaper:
I, Mr./ Ms.____________ (old name), have changed my name from______________ (old name) to____________ (new name), by an affidavit sworn before the Notary Public, ____________ on___________ (date),______________ (place).
Therefore, from now on, I will be known as _________________ (new name) for all purposes.
______ (name) and ________ (full postal address).
3. Publish in Gazette Notification:
Finally, the name change request and documentation will be sent to the Publications Department, regarding relevant evidence. Payment of the Gazette notification varies from Rs.700 or Rs. 900, depending on whether the person opts for public notice or not. Money will be paid in cash or by demand draft or postal order notice to the Publications Officer, Department of Publications, Civil Lines, Delhi-110054. The person must complete and carefully follow all instructions written in the “Last Name Change Deed Form”. The name change will be announced in the official gazette within 7 days of the request and a copy of the bulletin notification will be sent to the address specified in the writing form.
The following documents must be sent for the Gazette Notification as follows-
1. Name changing affidavit
2. Original copy of the newspaper announcing the name change.
3. The prescribed form must be signed by two witnesses, including their full name, address and mobile number.
4. A compact disc (CD) containing an electronic copy of an application in MS Word format. Instead of the applicant’s signature, the applicant’s previous name should be provided and the witness details should be mentioned.
5. A certificate in which the applicant declares that the materials contained in both the electronic and paper copies are identical. The applicant must formally sign the certificate.
6. The applicant must self-certify two certified photographs in passport format.
7. Photocopy of a valid identity document (such as Aadhar card, passport, voter’s ID card, PAN card, license).
8. Presentation letter, also known as the cover letter.
9. Demand draft for fess payment
4. Changing the official documents
After you have successfully changed your name, you will need to update your official documents (for example, passport, PAN card, driver’s license and ration card).
The good news is that copies of the affidavit, newspaper publication, and newsletter notice are enough to replace these documents. There are various forms available for changes in passports, pan cards, bank accounts. A copy of the affidavit and gazette notification is required.
It is a time-consuming process as it requires a lot of paperwork. Fortunately, updating educational documents with a new name is not mandatory, so you can do without it. However, the name change system seems convenient, but people can barely understand the legal process and visit various government offices. The government should digitize this program to remove all hardships for marginalized citizens. Following these procedures saves time and money in the future. This would also make it easy for the people know about the name change process at large. After all, a name is something that belongs to us, but it is used by others more than we do ourselves.