Courts cannot assume the role of super-guardian: SC

The Supreme Court on Friday said a major girl is entitled to make her choices and the courts cannot assume role of super-guardian on the basis of sentiments of a mother or egotism of her father.

The court allowed a 19-year-old girl to live with her father in Kuwait to pursue her career, saying on attaining the age of majority she was entitled to take her decisions.

The top court rejected her mother's plea for her custody as the Kerala-based woman claimed her daughter's decision is not an informed one and she has been pressurised by her father. The woman also referred to certain emails sent by the daughter to her in 2016.

"The courts cannot, as long as the choice remains, assume the role of parens patriae (legal protector). 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," a three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said.

After interacting with the girl, present in the courtroom, the bench said 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.

The girl, for her part, told the court that she wanted to go to Kuwait to pursue her career. She said she was pursuing her graduation from IGNOU and was doing her internship in Kuwait. The girl also told the court that her date of birth is September 19, 1998.

"There may be ample reasons on her behalf to go back to her father in Kuwait, but we are not concerned with her reasons. What she has stated before the court, that alone matters and that is the heart of the reasoning for this court, which keeps all controversies at bay," the bench said.

The court, however, allowed the woman to have interim custody of minor son during his summer vacations as per the order issued by a family court in Thiruvananthapuram. The court disposed of contempt petition filed by her.

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