Madurai Bench of Madras HC reiterates parental control as being different from illegal custody [Read the Judgment]

Madurai Bench of Madras HC reiterates parental control as being different from illegal custody [Read the Judgment]

A Madras High Court Bench at Madurai, comprising of Justice S. Manikumar and Justice V.S. Ravi upheld the decisions of the Courts which supported the view that parental authority, barring a few exceptions, would “out of bounds for a writ court, because it is exercised for the ultimate benefit of the ward.”

The Court referred to the decision of Kerala High Court in the case of Dr.Lal Parameshwar vs. Ullas N.N.Nadupurakkal and others, where the Court had observed, “We cannot accept as a general principle that the parents are in all circumstances, bound to concede absolute decisional autonomy to their children, even if they have attained majority and remain helpless even in situations where their wards have taken wrong and immature decisions, which will be disastrous not only to the wards themselves but also to the family itself.”

The bench also referred to the case of Sreekesh v. Mohammed Asharaf, wherein it was observed, “The parents are entitled to have the custody of their children and in no circumstances, it can be said to be illegal, especially in the case of a girl. The parents have a duty to put their children in a correct pathway in their life. True that the third respondent has become major. But that does not mean that no duty is cast upon the parents to advise her on important matters.”

The petition was filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for issuance of a Writ of Habeas Corpus, to direct the petitioner’s wife, Priyanga to be set at liberty.

According to the petitioner, M. Senthil Muthu, the petitioner and the detenue belonged to different communities and hence, their parents raised an objection to their marriage. They however, got married in May, 2015.

He submitted that Priyanga was subsequently restricted from continuing her studies. He then alleged that he and his family had been threatened by the Head Constable and the Inspector of Police in the Dindigul District, to stay away from the detenue.

It referred to the decision in case of Prasadhkumar v. Ravindran, wherein it had been held that, "It cannot be said that having control and supervision of an aged girl by the parents will amount to illegal custody warranting the issue of a writ by this Court. Parents will naturally be interested in the welfare of their children and unless there are extraordinary circumstances, normally they will be the proper persons to take decisions concerning the career and future of their children. Parents will be entitled to have control over the children, especially if they are daughters, to protect them from the vagaries of adolescence."

The Court held that the photocopy of the agreement, executed by the petitioner and the alleged detenue, before an Advocate-cum-Notary, as proof of marriage, solemnized between them, cannot be treated as a document issued by any competent authority under law. It said that a certificate issued by a competent authority under the Marriage Registration Laws, can be accepted, to have evidentiary value. In the absence of any proof of detention, the Court dismissed the petition.

Read the judgment here.