WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR CHILD RUNS AWAY
Author: Aishwarya Gupta, II year of B.B.A., LL.B.(Hons.) from Amity University Kolkata
Being a mother is not easy all the time. Gestating a child for nine months within your womb, delivering it with pain and then taking even more pains to rear it, so that it becomes a fully capable individual for taking care of itself is indeed a humongous task. However, sometimes children do certain things which are not only painful for their parents, but also their actions raise significant questions upon the very existence of the various human rights which are out there to protect an individual’s dignity. Under such situations, the question arises,
‘What is more important? Maintaining the dignity of an individual, or making sure that an estranged mother gets to know of her child’s wellbeing.’
I am not a mother. But, I certainly have observed another mother lament over the disappearance of her child very closely and I regret to say that the rigid system of human rights has failed to address to her grievances.
The story begins during the earlier days of the lockdown. Everything was going well in one of my relative’s home. Her daughter had been a meritorious student and we must say, that she was really lucky to have a mother who would praise her around constantly. Then one day, suddenly, she packed up all her bags, left her home and told her parents that she was going away.
Unable to take in so much information at a time, her mother tried to locate her daughter with the help of the local police. She was sure that her daughter was alright, as she was posting libelous statements about her parents on the various social media sites. However, the question for her mother was, ‘Where is she?’.
She took the help of the cybercrime bureau of the nearest police station, but, only to her dismay, she was turned away by being said that ‘it was against the Right to Privacy of the girl, who’s phone she was trying to tap, as the Right to Privacy is an integral part of Article 21 of the Constitution of India’.
Till date she doesn’t know where is her daughter exactly.
Now comes the analytical part of our manuscript. Is Right to Privacy so much important that it has overshadowed the ‘Right to be Concerned of One’s Progeny’? This indeed is the most important question raised here. On one hand we have a mother who is dying to know about her child’s exact location, the same child for whom she had taken so many pains. On the other is the human rights jurisprudence, which dictates the authorities to respect them at all times, so as to ensure ‘individual dignity’. Isn’t being aware of one’s child a part of dignity? Maybe this question has not yet been answered.
In the famous judgement of the Supreme Court of India, People’s Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India and Anr., it had been held by the Supreme Court that Right to Privacy was an integral part of the Right to Life of an individual and the same could not be infringed by tapping the phone of any person, whosoever he may be. The judgement, although turned out to be a boon for the politicians in question, but took the form of a bane for my relative. It is because of this judgement that my relative can’t know the whereabouts of her daughter and is left estranged, dependent only upon the folds of her fate.
Such pertinent issues need to be addressed by the human rights organizations, as these turn out be the lacunae in the whole process. Protecting the dignity of an individual is as important, as making a parent being able to know about her child, so as to uphold her dignity as a parent. Well, I guess this problem is yet to be answered by our Honorable Supreme Court of India. Whenever it gets answered, it will determine the fate of both the people like my relative and also the people like her daughter.
In my opinion, for a parent to know about the whereabouts of her child is very important because had it not been for the parent, the child would have never come into this world in the first place and hence, not enjoyed any Rights whatsoever.
(1997) 1 SCC 301
Aishwarya Gupta, have been born and brought up in Kolkata. She is currently in 2 nd year, pursuing BBA LL.B.(H) from Amity University Kolkata. She always had an interest in the field of law and intend to become a successful lawyer. She aims at striking a balance between academic excellence and practical exposure. She wants to bring about a change in society through this profession.