She/he is entitled to make her/his choice
New Delhi: In an order asserting the rights of major girl, the Supreme Court on Friday held that she is entitled to decide whether she wanted to stay with father or mother and the court cannot assume the role of “super guardian” in deciding her custody.
In its order a three-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Kanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud said, “The Courts cannot, as long as the choice remains, assume the role of parens patriae. The daughter is entitled to enjoy her freedom as the law permits and the Court should not assume the role of a super guardian being moved by any kind of sentiment of the mother or the egotism of the father. We say so without any reservation.”
The bench, while disposing of a special leave petition relating to custody of the daughter, said it needs no special emphasis to state that attaining the age of majority in an individual’s life has its own significance. She/he is entitled to make her/his choice. When she was present in the court, she expressly stated that she would like to go with her father to Kuwait and pursue her career. It said “in such a situation, we are of the considered opinion that as a major, she is entitled to exercise her choice and freedom and the court cannot get into the aspect whether she has been forced by the father or not.”
Referring to the mother’s contention that the daughter had been coerced and her opinion was not of free will, the bench said, “we had directed the daughter of the petitioner to remain personally present in Court and gave the responsibility to the father to see that she is present.”