Kerala: The Kerala High Court has held when a major girl exercises her fundamental rights under Article 21 of the Constitution of India by choosing her partner, Court cannot resist such expression of opinion.
A bench of Justices AM Shaffique and Anu Shivaraman also stated that he/she may opt for a criminal or a convict, a person of different religion, caste, colour, language or even decide not to marry at all. Once a person becomes a major, the exercise of parental authority gets limited and the person will have the authority to exercise all their rights as a citizen.
The ruling came in a Habeas Corpus petition filed by the mother and the father of a girl named Nasni , where the parents alleged that the boy named Abdulla and the other respondents of the case had abducted thier daughter. However, the girl denied of being abducted and informed the court that she was in love with the boy and they are intending to solemnize marriage and they had given notice of intended marriage before the Sub Registrar on June 3, 2017, and the convenient date for solemnization of the marriage was fixed on July 5, 2017.
The court directed a psychiatric evaluation of the detenue to be done by Dr CJ John of Medical Trust Hospital, Ernakulam, and the police were directed to file a report of the psychiatrist in a sealed cover. When the case was taken up on July 20, 2017, the report was produced before this court. In the report, the psychiatrist mentioned that the examination does not reveal any manic disorder or other psychotic disorders. However, taking into account the temperamental problems in childhood and the fact that her teenage pointed towards personality disorder, a diagnostic psychometry was conducted by a Clinical Psychologist. The Clinical Psychologist gave her impression of the detenue as under:
“Psychometry reveals personality disorder characterized by immaturity, impulsivity, rebelliousness, inability to emphathize with others and unstable emotional control.”
The court held that since there was no legal marriage between the detenue and the first respondent so far, it may not be possible to send her along with the first respondent unless there is a valid marriage.
The Court disposed the writ petition as under:-
(i) That the detenue shall be free to proceed on her own wish in respect of her marriage.
(ii) The detenue shall remain at SNV Sadanam Hostel, Ernakulam until solemnization of the marriage.
(iii) The police shall make arrangements for the detenue to appear before the concerned Sub Registrar Office for solemnization of marriage.
(iv) On solemnization of the marriage, detenue shall be free to take her own decision in the matter.
(v) If the solemnization of marriage does not take place within a period of one month from today, it shall be open for the petitioners to approach this Court for further directions.
(vi) Until she remains at the hostel, all expenses shall be met by the parents of the detenue and they alone shall be permitted to interact with her.
In an outlook, the decision seems progressive where the court gives a major right to choose his/her partner. However it cannot be unnoticed that it doesn’t allow an unmarried girl to stay with a man of her choice without marriage. And also only parents are allowed to meet her in hostel which appears double standard for a court. The court seems have taken no account of her clinical psychological report which states she is impulsive and immature.