A Major Entitled To Freedom Of Choice, Court Can’t Assume Role Of Super Guardian: SC [Read Order]
“A major is entitled to the freedom of choice. As long as the choice remains, the court cannot assume the role of the super guardian, moved by the sentiment of the mother or the egotism of the father,” observed the Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice AM Khanwilkar on Friday.
The bench was hearing a Special Leave Petition (SLP) arising out of a judgment of the Kerala High Court refusing to grant the prayer of the present petitioner for the writ of habeas corpus in respect of her daughter, noting that the daughter had attained the age of 18 years on September 19, 2016. The high court had not accepted the contention of the present petitioner that her children, the daughter and a minor son, were being illegally detained in Quwait by their father, the present respondent.
In pursuance of the order dated September 22, 2017, of the apex court in the connected Contempt Petition, the daughter was present in person before the bench on Friday and submitted that she has attained majority, her date of birth being September 19, 1998, that she is currently pursuing a Bachelors degree in Sociology in Quwait and that her career is of utmost importance to her for which she wishes to remain in Quwait and not relocate to India.
In view of her categorical declaration that she is a major and her explicit statement that she wishes to remain in Quwait, the Supreme Court refused to entertain the contention on behalf of the present petitioner that her daughter is not financially independent and that the said opinion of her daughter was not an informed one, but one forced by the father.
The bench also refused to peruse the e-mails allegedly written by the daughter to the present petitioner, stating her plight in Quwait and expressing her wish to reside with the mother. Further, the submission that the daughter is pursuing a correspondence course for which it is not obligatory for her to remain in Quwait was also rejected.
“We are only concerned with the right of a major to exercise her choice and freedom. It takes no special emphasis to state that the attainment of majority in an individual’s life is of immense significance. The court cannot get into the aspect of whether or not there was exertion of force by the father. We can also not get into the reasons behind the daughter’s wish to stay in Quwait,” remarked the bench on Friday.Read the Order Here