Having a man’s name on a child’s birth certificate alone will no longer be taken as proof that he is the father.
Ruling by High Court judge Stephen Githingi is likely to elicit fresh controversy, coming shortly after Justice Mumbi Ngugi empowered women to register the names of the men they have children with on their birth certificates, even without their consent. This was to be taken as proof that a man had fathered the child.
Justice Githingi was faced with a suit where a woman was demanding maintenance for a child from a man she claimed was her former husband.
The man denied being the father of the child and insisted that he had never had sex with her.
The woman, named S.M., had a birth certificate bearing the name of the man, named S.C., and wanted it used as proof that he is the father of the minor.
The man demanded a DNA test, saying it is the only sure way to settle the dispute.
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Githinji said since S.C. did not give consent for his name to be on the birth certificate, the end result was that it is just a paper without any ties to him.
“I wish in that regard to state here that the appearance of a person’s name as a parent of a child on the birth certificate, where the authenticity of such birth certificate is not established and where a party disputes parenthood, the certificate cannot safely be held as prima facie evidence that the person named is the child’s parent,” he said.
Githinji’s and Ngugi’s decisions have attracted controversy on whether children born out of wedlock should have the names of their father’s names on their birth certificates.
In the case, the woman was claiming Sh25,000 monthly upkeep for the child.