In India, individuals change their name for several reasons: marriage, religious purposes, security, or simply desire a new name. Here, it is pertinent to note that the process of changing one's name is time-consuming as it involves a lot of administrative formalities. The practice of name change is common in India and until it is not for any illegal activity or misuse changing the name is perfectly legal and possible. With the advent of technological advancement in almost all activities ranging from money transactions to shopping for essential commodities, it has become crucial for everybody to secure their identities in the offline world.
Hence, changing one’s name for security purposes is one of the main reasons for name change in India. Now, it must be noted that changing names in the Government records cannot be done directly and requires approval from the Center and State authorities as names are furnished on various essential government documents such as the Aadhaar card, PAN card, Graduation Certificates, Bank statements, Voters ID, etc.
To avoid any errors, one must remember the following points while starting the legal name change procedure:
1. Know the legalities and naming rules
For changing names, all the legal processes of the particular state must be well-researched. Firstly, one must attach various documents, such as copies of ID proofs and a notarized affidavit, pro format, and application for publication of name change in the official gazette. It is pertinent to note that the Judicial Magistrate or Notary must attest to all the documents.
Further, an advertisement for the name change must be placed in a national newspaper. Such an advertisement and the application and documents for publication of name change in the official gazette must be submitted to the Department of Publication in New Delhi. Name change shall be published in an official gazette within 30 days from the date of application, and a copy of the official gazette shall be sent to the applicant through courier.
Furthermore, it is always better to check whether there are any rules for a new name concerning the number of characters for a first name and last name, including hyphens, apostrophes, or other punctuation marks. Any other limitations concerning religion must also be checked.
2. Know the Procedure to Legally change your name in India
While applying for a change of name, knowing the steps involved in completing the procedure is necessary. The applicant has to undergo the following steps, namely,
An announcement published in the newspaper, and
A notification was published in the Official Gazette.
i. Creating and submitting the affidavit for a name change
An affidavit is a document that acts as a declaration by the applicant stating that they are willing to change their name. The affidavit must contain the applicant’s personal details such as last name, the reason for the name change, the name of father or spouse, and the applicant’s address.
Further, the affidavit must be signed by two witnesses and notarized. Here, it must be noted that the type of affidavit changes depending upon the individual's reason for the name change, and hence, it is best to seek the help of a legal professional.
ii. Placing an advertisement
The applicant must publish an advertisement about the name change in two newspapers. A local and national newspaper is best preferred.
iii. Gazette Publication
Publishing the new name in the official Gazette ensures that the new name is changed in all the government documents. The applicant must submit the application and documents for publication of name change in the Official Gazette to the Department of Publication.
Here, it must be noted that the publication of the applicant’s name change will be made in the Official Gazette within 30 days from the date of application. A copy of the Official Gazette is sent to the applicant through courier upon official publication.
3. Be Patient
Practicing patience will help the applicant as it takes a long time for the new identity to be recognized because of manthe y applications that come in daily.
4. Know the registration cost and other additional charges
Many legal professionals offer name change services in India. However, it is important to know beforehand the service charges, government fees, and other applicable extra charges. Being aware of the cost break-up will help the applicant avoid unnecessary expenses.
Documents Required for Name Change
Now, it is necessary to have a checklist of the required documents for the name change procedure. The following is a list of documents that must be attached along with the application for a name change:
Original as well as a photocopy of the advertisement appearing in the newspaper
Affidavit for Name Change
Prescribed proforma for Change of Name. Here, it is pertinent to note that the proforma should be signed by two witnesses and must contain the following witness details –
A Compact Disc (CD) containing a soft copy of the Proforma without witness details. The applicant’s previous name must be stated in the soft copy instead of the witness signature
A certificate declaring that details of the CD and the hard copy of the Proforma are the same
Two .self-attested passport size photos of the applicant
Photocopy of any one of the following ID proof of the Applicant –
Voter ID Card
Demand Draft for payment of fees
In conclusion, it can be understood that the procedure to change one’s name may look easy but the details and intricacies can be tricky as it requires one to understand the legal procedure; still, multiple visits to various government offices. Hence, it is important to appoint a legal professional who can handle the matter efficiently and seamlessly. A legal professional shall provide the applicant with all the necessary help and assistance, thus making the process hassle-free.
Author: Shweta Singh