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Soph (worker)     22 October 2014

What is the legal interpretation of the term "single mother"

Dear all,

Deepawali wishes to everyone. All learned members and counsel on here may kindly help me understand the exact legal definition of the term single parent. 




 6 Replies

Tajobsindia (Senior Partner )     22 October 2014

Are you asking here about 'single mother' OR 'single parent'? 


@ Author,


1. Sympathy; it invokes PERIOD.

2. If Common Law definition to be followed then a single mother is not even entitled to custody of child but in Indian context it takes 360 degree change though Indian Law follows Common Laws when a male person falls into pit of Family Laws of the land is to be punished but same is not the case when single female have brush with Family Laws of the land. 

3. However, 'Single mother' in Indian legal context is someone who has custody of child born out of 'wedlock' and is divorced and is not re-married and as an umbrella term she is also referred to as 'single parent'. 

4. 'Single mother' reference is also for all those mother’s who have child before wedlock out of say either during a live-in relations or out of pre-marital s*x or even due to rape or due to help from science i.e. ART – IVF – Surrogacy  or on account of  Adoption (Sushmita Sen is a single mother with legal papers).  

5. 'Single mother' reference is never given to those mothers who are facing a divorce case and or living away in separation (desertion) by - from her wedded husband or in short such terms are not used in a 'subsisting marriage'.  

6. If your other posting in this forum is referred to then your this cause title is not that of ‘single mother’.  You are making an un-successful attempt to have brush with law for a simple material fact, you were never represented truely in just forums for whatever reasons which I may not dwell in here under this query as they may not sound material but may sound judgmental and may evoke bad taste to variety of readers including you.


Originally posted by : Soph

Sir. In order to clarify doubts, I will first need to have an appreciation of them. Presently I have none.

Cmon lady,
 I per se appreciate a lady asking question here in any of the forum but you cannot expect atleast from me to start my reply with ‘appreciation’ such as (I think your above quote is not for me but I could not help holding me back)

“What a wonderful question: Wow what a question: Thank you for asking a question: OMG what a wonderful question you asked: This is best question ever asked by a lady: The forum is thankful to have asked a question by a lady etc. etc. amongst other’

Those appreciations wordings I leave for the Owners – Admin of LCI to shower whenever they read a lady asking a legal questions in any of their forums.

For me a question in the forum is a question simple as it got read down and as simply replied (rider – if it interests my time) and I do not want to open any of my replies with one of the above appreciation shower. It breads Marxist maxims which is my view and I now cherry pick quote from one of my very dear ld. brother (Lordship) Adv. Chandrashekar’s favorite words of wisdom for female posers “In the patriarchal system, enlightened and empowered women face difficulty to look at things in the men's way and that is why quite often, the women come on this forum display their dismay about the erroneous notion that "the laws are favourable to feminine gender"  

- I mean what is THAT ld. brother, so much left over anger at my replies to a lady !!! :-( / :-) 

Baas keh doo nahi reply karunga ladies key questions ka  { 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8Tt_LbEJ5w } kush raha karo ld. brother ........................

[Last reply] 

1 Like

T. Kalaiselvan, Advocate (Advocate)     22 October 2014

You may clarify the doubts raised by Mr. TajobsIndia or accept his version of explanation to your query.

1 Like

Adv. Chandrasekhar (Advocate)     22 October 2014

The proper method to legally define a word/term is to look into the definition clause of the bare Act, where such word appears.  If such word is not appearing in any statute, including General Clauses Act, then to take the resort of legal dictionary like Black's.  Mostly you would find the meaning there.  If not, then fall upon general dictionaries like Oxford etc.  If the meaning derived in such methods won't suit one's needs or such word could not get place even those books, then interpret it according to one's needs or likes and if our honourable lordships like your interpretation they take it or otherwise they pour their wisdom under discretionary power.  In the absence of such term in statute books, Mr. Tajob has got his own right to interpret it as he likes but his definition is not final authority and the inquisitor has got every right to defer to it and liberty to define it to her needs.  In the patriarchal system, enlightened and empowered women face difficulty to look at things in the men's way and that is why quite often, the women come on this forum display their dismay about the erroneous notion that "the laws are favourable to feminine gender".  I do not venture to legally define the above said term. 

1 Like

Soph (worker)     23 October 2014

Thank you all for replying.


Grateful for your information. Yes, since I could not find any legal definition for the term myself, I had to ask in a legal forum.

@T. Kalaiselvan

I am a lay person in law. I am yet to realise what doubts, if any, exist in tajobsindia's reply. I shall appreciate if you could shed more light or offer your opinion, Sir. In order to clarify doubts, I will first need to have an appreciation oft hem. Presently I have none.


Thank you for your reply. Although it doesnt shed much light on the problem for me since I am yet to familiarise myself with even the nomenclature of the texts you referred to. I appreciate your candid withdrawal from venturing to define the term. This query came up as my understanding of the term single mother did not ring indisputably true, an understanding which had some bearing upon another problem that I am seeking guidance for as mentioned by tajobsindia.



T. Kalaiselvan, Advocate (Advocate)     23 October 2014

@Soph:  Both the experts above have given their opinion to your query in the way that meant to them.  You should understand one thing that raising a question is very easy but to answer it properly is very difficult, especially in a public platform like this, because the reply given here should not be misguidance if it was an incorrect or improper answer to the query, because i is  not only  you but there are lot of people who will be taking a cue or guidance from this platform on a similar query.  Therefore both the experts have viewed your query in a proper perspective and they are absolutely right in their observation, you should not read between the lines, instead you were requested to be more proper descripttive in your query so that the same could be addressed very properly.

Your query was what  is the exact legal definition of single parent.  The answer will depend on what is the exact background which prompted you raise this question because accordingly the term may be interpreted. Whether is it an issue involving matrimonial laws/disputes or property law or surrogacy laws or any other issue which may be discussed here, so that the experts can give their opinion to their understanding.

In my opinion learned Advocate Mr. Chandrasekar has opined his views based on the issues involving the treatment meted out to the fair s*x in the society, which is absolutely right that the issues are still prevalent despite a very large hue and cry by the dismayed men who brand such laws as women friendly or gender biased etc which is not true except the fact is that a few women misuse the laws taking advantage of the provisions of law in their favor.

Therefore a single parent can be defined properly as per the legal terminology based on the background of the query,  this is not denial to your quest but to be more proper and precise in the answer.

1 Like

Adv k . mahesh (advocate)     24 October 2014

raising and taking care without any body helps by upbringing the task of kid may be out of IVF, surrogacy, widow, divorce, unmarried etc., in india

single mother saying is 

 I have no man in my life, true, but that doesn’t mean that I have no support or that I’m easy prey. I can very well take care of myself and the responsible that i have taken to upbring my kid out of .....”

In our legal system is is not defined nor in any dictionary about the word but broadly speaking as explained above the responsibilities which cover from scrach to the end

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