10 March 2022 1:15 PM GMT
The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Wednesday refused to accede to the request of a family to bring their adult daughter (Petitioner) back to them, under police custody, and to further hand her over to them. The Petitioner, who eloped from her house to pursue further studies and aspired to be an IAS Officer, had approached the Court seeking protection from her family.Justice Nandita Dubey...
The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Wednesday refused to accede to the request of a family to bring their adult daughter (Petitioner) back to them, under police custody, and to further hand her over to them. The Petitioner, who eloped from her house to pursue further studies and aspired to be an IAS Officer, had approached the Court seeking protection from her family.
Justice Nandita Dubey was dealing with a writ petition filed by a 20-year-old woman who was worried about her safety, pursuant to an F.I.R. lodged by her uncle, from whose house she went missing.
The case of the Petitioner was that she had left the house of her uncle as per her own volition. She submitted that she was living in Varanasi and was absolutely safe at her present residence. However, she informed the Court that the police authorities were pressurizing her for her appearance. She argued that being a major, she had a right to live as per her own terms and choices, and she could not be forced to come to Bhopal, to her family.
She also brought to the notice of the Court that she wanted to study further, however, her parents were not ready to let her study and wanted her to get married instead. Under this force and threat, she ran away with the help of a person who was allegedly the driver of her parents.
The parents stated before the Court that the Petitioner had sent her photographs, wearing 'Sindoor' to the police authorities showing that she was now married. When confronted with this, the Petitioner conceded that she sent those photographs hoping that it would stop her parents from coming after her or threatening her. She clarified that she was not married and was living alone, making ends meet by giving tuitions to children. She expressed her desire to become an IAS Officer one day and only then visit her parents. She asserted that as of now, she had no intention to give her address to her parents or to meet them.
Considering the Submissions of the Petitioner, the Court observed that she, being an adult, could not be forced to meet her parents-
"The petitioner is major nearly 20 years of age and has a right to live her life as per her own will and on such terms and conditions as she desires. She does not want to go back to her parents. She being an adult cannot be forced to return to her parents. Under the circumstances, the request of the parents of petitioner to summon her under police custody and give them her custody to them cannot be acceded to."
The parents had made a submission before the Court that the Petitioner had been abducted by their driver and that he was already married but somehow, lured their daughter to go with him. They further claimed that she was making statements under the influence of the said driver. The Court accordingly opined that if F.I.R. was already registered against him, the Police may investigate the matter, and if they find that the said person is already married and has abducted the Petitioner, they may take action against him. Having said that, the Court made it clear that the Petitioner shall not be harassed at any stage.
Case title: Siddhi Gupta v State of Madhya Pradesh
Citation:2022 LiveLaw (MP) 71
Click Here To Read/Download Judgment