Lawmakers register amendment proposals

A mother should not be compelled to disclose why she does not want to mention father’s name in her child’s birth certificate

Kathmandu, August 18

More than a dozen lawmakers have registered nine amendment proposals on the Bill on Right to Safe Motherhood and Reproductive Health and most of them have sought removal of a provision in the bill that requires a mother to state she does not want to mention the name of her child’s father or the father is unidentified.

Most of these lawmakers have stated  that in the course of applying for their children’s birth certificate, there should not be any provision to compel mothers to mention that they do not want to name their children’s father or the details thereof in case fathers are unknown.

Clause 9 of the bill stipulates that a child  can get a birth certificate without his/her father’s name being mentioned in the application if the mother does not want to name the father or if she does not know the identity of the child’s father. Birth certificate can be acquired with only the mother’s name, if she does not want to disclose the father’ name, but she should give ‘full details’.

The 72-hour deadline for registering amendments to the bill ended today. Lawmaker Shashi Shrestha said, “A mother is the truth for her child, so why should she be compelled to give details of the child’s father. If she doesn’t want to disclose her child’s father then that should be fine,” she said.

Former health minister and lawmaker Gagan Thapa, who has also registered an amendment to the bill said. “If a mother says a child is hers that should be final and there should be no requirement for her to give details of the child’s father to get the child’s birth certificate,” Thapa said.

Lawmaker Durga Paudel, who registered three amendments to the bill, also echoed Thapa.

Paudel’s amendment is related to female labourers in unorganised sectors workers. “The bill which gives 98 days paid maternity leave to female workers in organised sectors, does not speak about the similar facilities for women working in the unorganised sectors,” she said and added that the government should provide allowance and other benefits to new mothers.

She also sought formation  family court to address women’s problems. “Such a court can provide justice to women following fast track process,” she added.

Lawmaker Thapa also sought incorporation of Central Coordinating Committee under Health and Population Minister to oversee funds sent by the central government to local levels.

Lawmaker Shrestha also stated in her amendment proposal that pregnant women should be provided service by trained doctors during childbirth. “Specialised doctors and not others should attend to women in labour,” she added.