SC Says on Attaining Majority Individual is Entitled to Freedom of Choice


January 09, 2018

In this recent case, the Supreme Court has made a remarkable observation by holding that an individual who has attained majority is entitled to freedom to make his/her choice.


Brief Facts: In the case, the Petitioner had prayed for issuance of an appropriate direction to produce her daughter in the Court, to which the High Court did not accept as the Petitioner’s daughter had completed 18 years of age on 19.9.2016. The Petitioner in the case had alleged that her daughter was in illegal custody of her husband in Kuwait. The High Court came to a categorical conclusion that there had been no illegal detention of the daughter at Kuwait and, therefore, the prayer for habeas corpus was not sustainable.

The issue that arose before the Supreme Court in the case was whether this Court could have an interaction or dialogue with the daughter of the petitioner-mother and the respondent. The Petitioner’s daughter when produced before the Court categorically stated that her date of birth is 19.9.1998 and expressly stated that she would like to go to Kuwait and pursue her career. However, the petitioner-mother submitted that her daughter’s opinion was not an informed one and she had been pressurized by the respondent-husband.

Bench’s Verdict: The Court in the case while permitting the Petitioner’s daughter to go back to Kuwait made the following observations:

That the daughter without any hesitation clearly stated that she intended to go back to Kuwait to pursue her career. In such a situation, the Court was of the 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.

That on attaining the age of majority in an individual’s life has its own significance. She/he is entitled to make her/his choice.

The Courts cannot, as long as the choice remains, assume the role of parens patriae[1]. 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.

The entire case can be accessed here.


[1] Black’s Law Dictionary defines parens patriae as..the State has a legitimate interest under its parens patriae powers in providing care to its citizens who are unable to care for themselves.