30 Dec 2010

No deportation of major married daughter at instance of foreign father: High Court

Dismissing the petition of an Bangladeshi father seeking deportation of her daughter married to an Indian back to Bangladesh, the Delhi High Court in a recent decision ABDUS SABUR KHAN v. UNION OF INDIA declared that such deportation cannot be granted for a major daughter. Authored by the Chief Justice of the High Court himself, the decision held that when the Central Government was satisfied that there was fear of death of the daughter in case she was deported, the High Court took note of the prevailing instance of honour killing and declared that it would not lend credence to any action which may lead to such killing.
The High Court inter alia declared as under;
7. In this context, we may refer with profit to Section 3A of the Foreigners Act, 1946 which reads as follows:
“3A. Power to exempt citizens of Commonwealth countries and other persons from application of Act in certain cases. – (1) The Central Government may, by order, declare that all or any of the provisions of this Act or of any order made thereunder shall not apply, or shall apply only in such circumstances or with such exceptions or modifications or subject to such conditions as may be specified in the order, to or in relation to – (a) the citizens of any such Commonwealth country as may be so specified; or (b) any other individual foreigner or class or description of foreigner. (2) A copy of every order made under this section shall be placed on the table of both Houses of Parliament as soon as may be after it is made.”
On a reading of the aforesaid provision, it is crystal clear that the Central Government has the power to declare all or any of the provisions of the Act or of any order made thereunder not applicable to a citizen of specified commonwealth country. There are certain riders apart from the stipulation that copy of every order made under the said Section is required to be placed on the table of both Houses of the Parliament. Thus, there are immense safeguards and guidelines inbuilt in the said provision. This Court in its power of judicial review is only required to see whether a decision taken by the Central Government at this stage dealt with the case appositely regard being had to the representation made by the daughter of the appellant or passed an order in a routine or mechanical manner. The reasons indicated therein clearly show that there has been application of mind, survey of facts, analysis of the situation and consideration of the factual score from human rights perspective. Thus, it would be inapposite to accept the apprehension of the appellant that his daughter might be involved in any kind of trafficking. The daughter, as the facts exposit, is a major. She has a choice to lead her individual life. There may be cases where a father in certain circumstances may think of filing a habeas corpus petition in case the daughter is detained in illegal custody. But when a public authority has examined her and recorded the satisfaction that she is married to Zubair Khan and has been blessed with a daughter, the said ground also melts into insignificance. On the contrary, the apprehension expressed by the daughter before the competent authority of the department, we are disposed to think, is absolutely sanguine. She has the fear not of her life in case she is deported but also that of her daughter. When a statutory provision empowers the Central Government to take a decision and when a danger to life has been canvassed and the same has been accepted by the authority on proper scrutiny of the material, it can be stated with certitude that the decision rendered is in accord with the constitutional philosophy of India, the statutory protection and declaration of human rights. It is apt to note that a human right is a basic right, a natural right. It cannot be crucified or brought to a state of comatose because of maladroit design of a headstrong father. It can only be said that the father has exhibited obstinacy and stubbornness in a bad cause. The father may harbour a feeling that it is the defeat of his family but a defeat of this nature is not to be given any kind of acceptation.
8. In Sangita Rani (Smt) Alias Mehnaz Jahan v. State of Uttar Pradesh and another, 1992 Supp (1) SCC 715 a three-Judge Bench of the Apex Court while dealing with a petition preferred under Article 32 of the Constitution of India had not only quashed the FIR taking note of the fact that the boy and the girl had already been married and the marriage had been registered in court but also cautioned the parents to accept the situation and create no problem for her daughter and her husband.
9. In this context, we may refer with profit to the decision in Lata Singh v. State of U.P. & Anr., AIR 2006 SC 2522, wherein a two-Judge Bench of the Apex Court has opined thus:
“18. We sometimes hear of 'honour' killings of such persons who undergo inter-caste or inter-religious marriage of their own free will. There is nothing honourable in such killings, and in fact they are nothing but barbaric and shameful acts of murder committed by brutal, feudal minded persons who deserve harsh punishment. Only in this way can we stamp out acts of barbarism.”
10. We may hasten to add though the said decision was rendered in a different context but we have referred to the same because their Lordships have shown their concern with regard to 'honour killing' and in the case at hand the apprehension expressed by the daughter before the competent authority of the Central Government speaks eloquently about the danger to life she would face if she goes back to her father in Bangladesh because of the honour which the father harbours in a different way.
11. The parental unwanted and unwarranted intervention in the lives of major children is sometimes writ large. In the name of honour-individual, family and community apart from torture murder also takes place. Honour killing cannot be countenanced in a civilized society and more so in a body polity governed by rule of law, for right to life is sacred and sacrosanct. One may treat that it is an affair of honour and he would go to any extent for the cause of his honour but by such an idea he cannot have the feeling of a victor and the sufferer at his hand a vanquished one. India, is governed by the resplendent philosophy of the compassionate Constitution of India which puts life at the greatest pedestal and in such a system an arbitrary rule, the fashionable world of honour to commit offences or to trespass into others' individual living is totally impermissible. The concept of social expulsion or suspension or even for that matter a perverse notion of self-respect cannot be countenanced. True it is, Mr. Bhushan, learned senior counsel for the appellant urged with immense vehemence about the locus standi of the father and his concern but we are of the considered opinion in the present case that both the concepts are bound to collapse like a pack of cards as the facts are tell tale to fresco the picture that the appellant as a father has an agenda of vendetta and not of real concern.
12. Ex consequenti, we do not find any merit in this appeal and dismiss the same. Ordinarily, we would have imposed exemplary costs but we have refrained from doing so. We are disposed to think, a misguided father requires more of therapeutic treatment rather to face the burden of costs.

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