Citing Hadiya case, it says social values and morals have their space but they are not above the constitutionally guaranteed freedom.
Taking suo motu cognizance of news reports of a law graduate who was put under ‘illegal’ confinement in her house by her parents over her love affair with a Delhi-based lawyer, the Patna High Court on Thursday ordered that she be set free and allowed to go wherever she wanted to go and pursue her career and life in the way she desired.
A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Rajeev Ranjan Prasad directed the senior superintendent of police, Patna, to give adequate protection to the 23-year-old girl for going to the place of her choice and added that once she reaches her destination, she may claim protection from the local police.
Referring the verdict of the Supreme Court in Hadiya’s case, the bench said, “If we analyze the aforesaid judgment in the backdrop of facts and circumstances of the present case, even though we are conscious of the fact that the parents have various reasons to resist the wishes of their daughter, but once the daughter in categorical term on two occasions when she appeared before us, i.e., today and earlier to that on 26.06.2018, expressed her desire to have her way of life and exercise her fundamental right, we have no hesitation in allowing her to go the way she desires and exercise the constitutional right available to her. She is a free citizen and no one even her parents have a right to curtail or withhold the freedom available to her under the Constitution.”
“…we direct that the corpus be set free. She is free to proceed to any place as she wishes. The corpus is free to move out on her own and pursue her career and the life in the way she desires,” said the bench.
It is to be noted that the girl, a graduate of Chanakya National Law University (CNLU), was reportedly beaten up by her father Khagaria district and sessions judge Subhash Chandra Chaurasia and was allegedly kept under illegal confined.
In June, the high court had taken note of the news reports and directed the girl and her parents be produced before it.
On June 26, when the girl and her parents appeared before the bench, it directed that she be placed in a guest house at CNLU.
Now the high court has directed that the bills of her stay there be sent to the Registrar General of the high court who shall deal with the same after taking orders from the Chief Justice on the administrative side.
The bench cited the observations of the Supreme Court in Hadiya’s case saying, “We have referred to the principles as laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court for the simple reason that before us also the parents of the corpus expressed similar sentiments based on the facts that the corpus is their only daughter and she is being misguided and possibility of her being blackmailed and consequence of misguidance cannot be ruled out.”
“We have taken note of the aforesaid and we find that the Hon'ble Supreme Court goes to observe that in case at hand, father in his own stand and perception may feel that there has been enormous transgression of his right to protect interest of his daughter but his viewpoint or position cannot be allowed to curtail fundamental rights of his daughter who, out of her own volition, married appellant husband.”
“Thereafter, Hon'ble Dr DY Chandrachud approving the observations made by Hon'ble the Chief Justice goes on to discuss the issue in the following manner: The schism between Hadiya and her father may be unfortunate. But it was no part of the jurisdiction of the High Court to decide what it considered to be a ‘just’ way of life or ‘correct’ course of living for Hadiya. She has absolute autonomy over her person. Hadiya appeared before the High Court and stated that she was not under illegal confinement. There was no warrant for the High Court to proceed further in the exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 226......”
The court also referred to the concept of a fundamental right available to a person and the principle of social value and morals and wishes to the parents giving way to the fundamental rights available to the citizen as discussed by the Supreme Court.
“Curtailment of that expression and the ultimate action emanating therefrom on the conceptual structuralism of obeisance to the societal will destroy the individualistic entity of a person. The social values and morals have their space but they are not above the constitutionally guaranteed freedom. The said freedom is both a constitutional and a human right…Non-acceptance of her choice would simply mean creating discomfort to the constitutional right by a Constitutional Court which is meant to be the protector of fundamental rights. Such a situation cannot remotely be conceived. The duty of the Court is to uphold the right and not to abridge the sphere of the right unless there is a valid authority of law. Sans lawful sanction, the centripodal value of liberty should allow an individual to write his/her script. The individual signature is the insignia of the concept,” the court said quoting from the apex court verdict.
Meanwhile, on the girl’s submission that her education certificates were in possession of her maternal uncle who was not parting with them under the influence of her parents, the court directed the police to get them released and register an FIR if any person creates any hindrance.