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Registrar ordered to remove 'strange father' from birth certificate of minor

Justice John Onyiego said it was unfair for the registrar to decline to rectify the birth certificate. [iStockphoto]

The High Court has ordered the Registrar of Births to remove "strange father" from a minor’s birth certificate.

The case involves a six-year-old boy who supposedly has two fathers. While the minor has a biological father, the one registered on his birth certificate is different.

Justice John Onyiego said it was unfair for the registrar to decline to rectify the birth certificate even after a DNA test ascertained who the father of the boy is.

Babu and Mwikali, the boy’s parents, sued the registrar for refusing to remove the name Said from the minor’s birth certificate. Babu is the boy’s biological father yet Said was registered as the father on the certificate.

"The first applicant is indeed the biological father of the minor; and taking into account that the respondent has conceded that he will not be prejudiced by allowing the application, I am satisfied that the application is merited and the same is accordingly allowed as prayed,” ruled Justice Onyiego.

The boy was born on November 28, 2016, when Babu was out of the country. Upon his return, he discovered that another man had been registered as the father.

Mwikali did not know the person indicated as their son's father and could not remember giving any particulars of such a man to the nurses.

Mwikali gave birth through a cesarean operation and said she was in a state of delirium when she was giving details for their son's birth certificate. After recovering, she discovered that a stranger had been registered as her son's father.

Babu and Mwikali said their attempts to have the erroneous registration rectified by the registrar hit a brick wall. They conducted a DNA test to prove paternity but the registrar refused to yield.

Owing to the error, Babu could not take care of his son’s medical insurance and education needs.

The registrar argued that the responsibility of giving the correct details of a newborn baby lies with the parent and said it was Mwikali who gave the name and therefore, it was believed to be a true account.

The registrar said that he could not rely on the DNA results produced by Babu and Mwikali as they had done the test on their own without the supervision of the court.

The registrar argued that Section 14 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act gives Kenyans a two-year grace period to amend or alter a name of a child, and that had lapsed. He said if the case is allowed, other applicants would demand to have their names amended.

The Government's Chemist and a fingerprint expert confirmed that Babu is the biological father and said that in light of the DNA report, the best interest of the child is to amend the birth certificate.