However, the law has always allowed married women to retain their maiden names in passports, if they wished so, in the past too. Earlier too, the passport application form never asked women to change their maiden names to their husbands' surnames.
Regarding name change, the instructions booklet of the passport application form on the Passport Seva website states, "This will be applicable to an applicant who has even marginally changed the name or a female who has changed her name or surname after marriage."
Thus rules clearly say that if a woman has kept her maiden name, nothing changes in the passport application process. Many women on social media also stated the same fact on Thursday. Here we bring you a few tweets explaining the rules regarding name change for married women in their passports...
Wasn't that the case for many years now? I haven't changed my surname post marriage & had no issues with that when I renewed my passport. https://t.co/4iDW2ocKEX— Renuka Shahane (@renukash) April 13, 2017
They can retain their maiden names on passports even now, actually https://t.co/yc9Pn1qXU9— Nistula Hebbar (@nistula) April 13, 2017
Under the law it's entirely up to the woman whether she wants to change her name after marriage forget about the passport! https://t.co/7KwerDLBIl— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) April 13, 2017
Stating that he wanted women to be at the centre of the developmental schemes, PM Modi said his government is working in different ways to empower them through various schemes like Mudra and Ujjwala, among others.
"From now onwards, women will not have to change their names in the passport after their marriage," Modi told a gathering of the Indian Merchants Chambers' ladies wing over a video conferencing.
The Prime Minister also said that "women don't have to submit marriage/divorce certificate for passports".