Eloped girl can’t ask for father’s FD: Court. Eloped boy can?

If a father (or mother) deposit their directly earned money in a child’s account – should they have the right to take this money back? (whether or not the son or the daughter elopes)

What do you think?

I think everybody should have the right to decide who they give their hard earned money to, and also to change their mind upto a point. But what about the banking norms?

Is this case about eloping, or denial of rights to daughters?

Eloped girl can’t ask for father’s FD: Court

Link shared by Kavya Veni B R and Medusa. 

NEW DELHI: If a woman defies the “family and societal norms” and elopes with someone, then her father can take back the money which he deposited in her account when she was a minor. This is what a trial court observed recently while deciding a monetary dispute between a father and daughter.

The bank with which the account was opened was also made a party in the case. During the trial, the bank submitted before the court that as per the banking norms, once a minor becomes major, the guardian or the person who had deposited the money in his or her account cannot claim it. However, the bank later submitted that it would honour the judgment.

Discussing the “social aspect” of the case, the court said, “Our society is governed by certain moral norms, which by the passage of time have attained sanctity of law and one of such predominant norms is that

the parents are supposed to give best comfort, consortium, education and stay to their children to the best of their capability and conversely the same is also the right of a child… but the responsibility of the parents and the right of the children… to have the same from their parents go hand-in-hand and cannot be vouchsafed independent of each other.

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48 thoughts on “Eloped girl can’t ask for father’s FD: Court. Eloped boy can?

  1. IHM, this is an interesting case.

    There is a deeper point here which I would love to hear your opinion on – and the opinion of your readers. I believe it deserves a deep look.

    The issue is this: many traditional / conservative people have asked me, “how is it fair that our kids get all the positives of the traditional Indian upbringing, with the extraordinary sacrifices parents make, but they get to flout our expectations in the name of individual freedom? Aren’t they opportunistic?”

    Now, a lot of the time this is not true – the parents may not have made any great sacrifices, and still expect to control their kids lives in the name of society, culture etc. Or even if they have made sacrifices, their attempts to control are violations of basic freedoms.

    But I think it’s a very interesting point for some parents – if they didn’t expect their kids to toe the conservative line & do what’s right for the family, they wouldn’t behave on those lines themselves. They wouldn’t leave huge amounts of inherited wealth; or save up gold for their daughter, or educate their son at the best uni possible leaving themselves no vacations or luxuries. They would adopt a more laissez faire approach – you go your way, I’ll go mine. And they feel cheated because it’s too late to take that approach; they’ve already made sacrifices. So in those cases, do the parents have a point? What’s the solution for them?

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    • The thing is, as children, we really do not have a say in how our parents will raise us. They may have made great sacrifices for us, but they did not seek our consent in doing so. It was their choice. Now they cannot hold the choices they made as some kind of a bargaining tool over wanting control in the choices their adult children make. Children dont ask to be born, parents make a definite choice to have kids. Think about this – Say I bake a cake for you with lots of effort. It is an awesome cake. And then I simply walk over to your house and demand money for this cake I made for you – a cake which you did not ask me to make. Would it be fair? How should I find a “solution” for my problem?

      The solution for parents who think they have made “sacrifices” is to take solace in the fact that they raised their kids exactly the way they wanted. Trading sacrifices for control was a deal they struck up in their head. Now they cannot expect their children to agree to a deal they had no idea they were a part of.

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      • BigSis I appreciate your point and I like your cake example. I should clarify that I am entirely in favour of your way of thinking… I’m not sure though, that if I were to give this answer, it would actually give solace and comfort for a parent who had actually done it. It’s very bitter for them to look back and say, man, the last 20 years I have been following a false ideal that was transmitted to me culturally. After all, it’s not entirely their fault that there are such big cultural changes within one or two generations. I see this as a tragic situation where all parties deserve compassion & sympathy. Children cannot give up their freedom; at the same time the parents deserve empathy for their expectations, which were imprinted early in their childhood.

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      • ” They may have made great sacrifices for us, but they did not seek our consent in doing so.”

        Exactly. Did the kids get a vote on parenting styles? Were they even in a position to be aware of and offer alternatives? No.

        In any case, I don’t think parenting is a bargain being driven, which is what this sounds like.

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        • Were the parents aware of other parenting styles? Did they consciously choose their mindset? That doesn’t make a controlling, bargain driven style right of course, but explains why I see this as a tragedy rather than a blame game.

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    • I don’t understand. Are you saying that parents who don’t expect to control their children do not save up for them or help them through college or even sponsor their marriage? That is simply not true. They might have brought up their children to be independent, but many of those parents also have taken pains to ensure they are able to back up even their grown up children if they have to. I don’t think any solution is needed here at all because ALL parents sacrifice for their children. It is a choice they make when they decide to have children in the first place.

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      • No of course not. I say that they save up / help differently, in a way they wouldn’t if they knew that the ‘old way’ of doing things would be broken. More than what is physically done, I mean the emotional investment in that expectation. Some sort of solution is required if only to spare people from trauma.

        We live in a country where there’s a very poor grounding of individual rights & freedoms – it hasn’t percolated down to all levels of society, it hasn’t spread through rural areas, it hasn’t made its way into our education system, into our politics or into our cultural framework. While that change is happening, until freedom becomes the default value, I believe a solution is needed. (Not, of course, the solution of obedience of the next generation, but some sort of nationwide awareness of the trauma of change & how to cope with it).

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    • Quote:

      The issue is this: many traditional / conservative people have asked me, “how is it fair that our kids get all the positives of the traditional Indian upbringing, with the extraordinary sacrifices parents make, but they get to flout our expectations in the name of individual freedom? Aren’t they opportunistic?”

      Unquote:

      Traditional / conservative people should be referred to the teachings of the Gita.
      It’s pretty simple. Do your duty. Forget about the reward.

      Also, Kahlil Gibran’s famous words are reproduced below.

      Your children are not your children.
      They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
      They come through you but not from you,
      And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
      You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
      For they have their own thoughts.?
      You may house their bodies but not their souls,
      For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams

      Trust this answers your question.
      Regards
      GV

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      • Folks, I am not debating the moral principle. I’m not worried about who’s in the ‘right’ because I think that’s pretty obvious. Maybe I didn’t phrase myself clearly.

        What I was interested in is twofold – first, do we believe that this mindset is entirely the fault of the individual parents i.e. did they sort of consciously choose it and refuse to let go of it given exposure to other options? (If IHM has covered this angle in a previous post, please let me know). And second, what would we say to the parents if they’re feeling immense sadness?

        Towards this end, I think I got two very different answers. One is BigSis response & the other is GV’s response. I personally like GV’s response because it’s not telling people “your mindset is all wrong, so there”. It’s more compassionate, it’s more empathic.

        To those who think no solution at all is required, I cordially disagree. There may be a time when life blindsides our generation with a switch of values and fundamental beliefs. At that point, it will be a real bonus if someone empathizes & makes it easier to deal with.

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  2. The court’s mandate is to not rule according to ‘social norms’. Banking regulations exist for a reason.
    I hope that this verdict is overturned in a higher court. This is plain illegal. Also scary. I can imagine another judge thinking along these lines in a divorce case for example.

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    • But isn’t it exactly how the divorce judgments go, following the same principle of splitting up the money based on judge’s opinion of who “deserves” what or “contributed” how much, rather than in whose account the money is sitting. If paying back is justified in that case, then why not in this case? After all it was father who wholly contributed to the FD.

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      • Marriage is a legal contract, bound by these terms of potential split of property and alimony payments. These clauses are known before hand, as in they are common law and can be looked up by anyone wanting to enter into a marriage. Ex-guardians and their ex-wards are not bound by any such contract.

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      • Well if the court orders an individual to pay money to another that is alltogether a different matter.

        Here the bank was odered to give the fixed deposit that is legally now hers, back to the father.

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    • Just yesterday, the Karnataka HC threw out a public interest petition from a female lawyer who wanted the Hindu Marriage Act amended to make divorce illegal.
      I have had many WTF moments of late, but this one came out on top.

      So one woman decided that it was well within her individual rights to deprive millions of people of their legal right to seek divorce. I’m not even getting into the absurdity of it all. The learned lawyer did not realize that divorce laws can only be amended by legislatures.

      It boggles my mind when I think of how thoughtlessly we tread on the freedoms and rights of others — all in the name of “culture” and “tradition”.

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  3. Did this court just say that you cannot access funds that are legally in your name ? Was there any clause in the account agreement that said that the person forfeits the amount if they eloped?

    The father may feel cheated that his daughter went against his will and now wants access to the money he set aside for her, but that is a moral dilemma, not a legal one.

    Will the courts also rule that my money be returned whenever I have developed a dislike for the person after willingly handing over my money to them?

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  4. //Our society is governed by certain moral norms, which by the passage of time have attained sanctity of law//

    Basically he’s saying if enough people indulge in any kind of tomfoolery long enough, it becomes law.

    Awesome. In that case,

    I want dowry if I get married.
    If I die, my wife should jump in the pyre with me.
    People of lower castes should service all my needs without question.

    Let me know if there are any other moral norms which have attained sanctity of law through passage of time. I’d love to make use of them.

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  5. I don’t know the legal situation – if person A deposits money into a minor B’s account, can A take the money out of their account when A becomes a major?

    The genders and specific situations I think are irrelevant. Eloped/not eloped, all this is irrelevant isn’t it?

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  6. Consider the situation between spouses who are going for divorce. How come the fact that one of them offered some services for free and/or handed over their salary/money to the other party out of their own free will still entitles them to rescind this generosity retrospectively at a later date? Isn’t that situation exactly like this one?

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    • Couples are equal partners and equal holders of marital property (socially). Children are dependents and can’t claim equal share in parents’ earnings, without the parents’ willingness/wishes/approval.

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  7. Answer to abvblogger’s question (first comment) – (sorry if this is branching off a bit but really wanted to clarify this important point)

    As a mom to 2 kids, I can answer this –
    – the traditional Indian mindset of raising kids as investments is wrong. With this mindset, parents make a lot of sacrifices, then expect kids to repay their debt, by giving up their identity and their dreams.
    – Parents should not be dumping their life’s savings into marriages and kids’ education. They must save for their own retirement instead. It’s okay to support kid’s education but do what you can, no need to provide a Cadillac when you can only afford a Corolla.
    – Then what role do parents really have in their children’s lives? Does being against the traditional Indian parenting mindset mean – I’ll live my life my way, you live your your way? NO. This is a common misconception. Parents do have a huge role to play in their kids lives!
    – The biggest role of parents is to teach their kids to be responsible, allow them to make mistakes, face the consequences of their mistakes, and learn from them.
    – All children make mistakes, the key is to not jump in and protect them from failures but to encourage them, and facilitate the process of natural learning.
    – The second biggest thing parents can do for children is to help them discover who they are. Every child is unique and has the potential to become someone interesting, productive, and happy. Will she grow up to fly airplanes? Will he grow up to save rain forests? We will not find out unless we are willing to listen and help them go after their dreams.
    I can tell you from personal experience, that by doing both – disciplining them gently and holding them to certain standards and values – while allowing them to follow their dreams – parenting can actually be surprisingly fun.
    It is so cool to watch your babies grow and develop ideas of their own, and as they get older become more and more like friends.

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    • I love your comment and it’s a great exposition of what a parent ought to do. And if I had to counsel someone who has young kids or teens, it’s exactly what I would say. But what about those who have actually finished the parenting, more or less. Would it give solace / comfort to those realizing that their 20+ years of sacrifice was founded upon a ‘wrong’ mindset? I have great sympathy for these people, who, as you say, bought the cadillac. They’re good people too, and it’s rather tragic what a dramatic gap there is between the cultural norms / expectations and the reality of what works. What shall we say to them? Too bad, it’s very sad what you’re going through?

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      • I replied to this but my server connection broke so not sure if it went through. Forgive me if you see 2 replies. Trying again.
        “What shall we say to them? Too bad, it’s very sad what you’re going through?”
        The problem here is not about making sacrifices but making sacrifices with selfish motives. All parents make sacrifices – even the ones who teach their kids to be independent and support their dreams – they sacrifice enormous amounts of time in being involved with them, teaching them, talking to them, listening to them, being strong and patient through the bad/difficult phases, not giving up on them, tolerating their immaturity, their mistakes, and loving them despite their mistakes while disciplining them.

        But these sacrifices must be made WILLINGLY, with love, and with NO EXPECTATION but to be loved in return. Otherwise it becomes a barter system. We have kids because we want to. We raise them a certain way, work hard to give them the tools to be successful because we want to. Good for us! We did what we wanted to do! We are not Gods for doing this. This is basic human decency. This is a basic expectation for bringing kids into the world.

        What would I say to these parents who feel bitter, left behind, feel it’s unfair?
        I’d say, “You did all this for your kids because you wanted to. At the time, you felt it was the right thing to do. You felt you did it out of love. Don’t make them pay for your love. Let them pursue their dreams. Don’t feel bitter. Maybe you can build a new relationship with them, one based on mutual love and respect. Maybe you can rediscover your kids now, find out what they really think, what motivates them. Maybe you can develop interests and passions of your own, share these with your kids. It’s not too late. It’s never too late.”

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        • Thank you, that is exactly what I wanted to know. It’s a great response to such parents. I believe that’s a very constructive way to show them a hopeful future. And I believe that’s what makes or breaks the relationship when there is a clash – not the stance we take, but how we put it across.

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  8. I fail to see love and sacrifice in indian parents unbringing.If they r doing all this so that the kids will return the favor after growing up in form of “marrying by parents choice” towing the line and basically being a puppet to their whims.I dont consider this sacrifce at all.Its just a barter system.A pet trainning program.

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    • It’s important to see that this is not the way they see it. It may look like a barter system, but that’s not how traditional people think about it. They think in terms of duty with a capital d. And that mindset is at odds with individualism, and the legitimacy of individual desires. While I am with you in agreeing that freedom & individuality are important, and the traditional systems are flawed, I feel it is important to understand that the people propagating them can be good. They just have a different value framework which seems flawed to us.

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      • Wanting someone ( yes even your own child) to do something that makes you happy and them unhappy is selfish, yes they may be good and yes they may be products of their generation and yes they may want only good for the child, but if a individual ,( over 18) cannot decide how they want their life but instead have to follow their parents chosen path for them makes the parents in my book – NOT GOOD PARENTS and more important ‘terrible role models’ we seriously dont want the kids to follow this ponzi scheme and worse go on to propagate it.

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        • Fair enough… I do agree with the moral principles. What I am wondering is how you would put that to a real grieving traditional person in front of you. Would you say those words? Would that direct disagreement / confrontation be the best way to change their minds? This is a very interesting question for me.

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  9. First let me pat myself on the back!
    Why?
    I predicted to myself this would be the next topic on your blog when I read the report yesterday!

    I agree with clueless.
    Anon-Dood too has hit the nail on the head and put forth his point most humourously.
    I chuckled as I read it.

    The judge should not concern himself with the elopement. It is a private family matter.
    Eloping is a sad thing, but not illegal so the judge should not be concerned.
    The judge is a legal person, and not a priest and should allow banking regulations to be followed.
    Let the regulations be revised if there is a consensus, but as long as they exist, they must be followed.
    If the FD was in the girls name, the bank is bound to honour the agreement and can rightly say it is not concerned with the elopement.
    Today it is elopement.
    Tomorrow it could be something else.
    What if the FD had been in the name of a minor son.
    Son’s don’t elope, but they can do other things that parents may not like.
    For example, a son may convert to some other religion.
    If so, the parents may like to disinherit him and can legally do so but they can’t expect a bank to change its rules to please the parents.
    Any money in his account even if deposited by the parent should be his, not the parents.
    This judgement will cause problems for banks, if the judgement stands and is not overturned.

    Regards
    GV

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  10. The father is asking the bank to not to give the money to the adult child.

    He has a tiff with his child(whatever gender it might be) for whatever reason(elope/into bad company/drug addict/any lame ass reason) and now does not want to give the money to her.

    The discretion lies with the bank to decide what to do.

    Here it seems it goes against the bank rules to withhold the money.

    Now if they decide not to withhold the money the father goes to the court contesting the bank’s decision. His child does not come in the scene any where. And as clueless clearly points out, the fathers tiff with his adult child is his moral dilemma, his business.

    The court should not consider the context of the father-child tiff.

    A case of a bad bank, stupid parent and an utterly ..

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  11. Two things come to my mind on reading this news,
    1. This case isn’t only about girl, its about money and inherited money. The article does not mention if the girl asked for money. If she doesn’t, there is no case only legality. Father merely wants to close the FD and not give money to his daughter. If she does, I feel she is wrong and father has moral, ethical right to deny her his hard earned money.
    2. And this comes from personal experience, if the girl has chosen to lead independent life, it is bad on her part to reap benifits from her parent, against their wishes. I walked out of my house a while back, I talk to my parents but I will never take a penny from their hard earned money even if it is deposited in my name before my marriage. Leading a independent life has its own pitfalls, leading a dependent life has some more pitfalls. Chose which life to lead and reap the benefits as well as take care of pitfalls. Don’t talk about living in both worlds.

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    • See, it’s all well and good that if you chose to lead an independent life, you might want to not use your parent’s money and everything. Even I’d do it. Even if the money was in my name, I’d give it back. My mom and dad have done similar stuff with money of some relatives. They gave it back.

      But I have an issue with the court saying take money out of X’s account and give it to Y where X and Y are both majors, and neither is dependent on the other in the eyes of the law.

      Ultimately, since the money is in the girl’s account, it’s her choice whether she wants to give it back or not.

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      • Choosing to elope is choosing to live an independent life. Irrespective of whose account that money is, it is her Fathers money and he has right to deny it.
        Now the money is in someone else account for which they need legal assistance

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        • It’s no longer his money once he chose to put it in another person’s account and relinquish control over it.

          And the court shouldn’t have the power to say take this money out and give it to this other person.

          It can order one party to pay another in some cases, such as when a corporation performs fraud or something like that. In this case, the girl has done nothing except live her life the way she wants to. So even an order to pay doesn’t apply here.

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  12. Ahh! Now the courts too are going to make moral judgments rather than making legal judgments. For that we only need the society, the Khaps and the Godmen…right??? Do we need a fully-functional court to make a moral judgement? Too much!

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  13. What about the law where children have to provide for aging parents or they can be penalised and prosecuted?? How does this law doesn’t impeach upon the freedom of an adult child. If looked from this law, the court decision makes lot more sense??

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  14. If it’s her dad’s money, irrespective of if he choose to put it in an a/c fo rher or not , it’s his money. if he doesnt want to give it to her she has no claim on it.
    Now if he took her money – which she earned as a minor or major and is refusing to give it to her, then I’d say she has a case, irrespective of any judgments.

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  15. I work in a bank and hopefully can clarify some points.

    Replying to Siddharth: The child here may have a moral responsibility to return the money she got from a person who parts ways with her for a decision she made without his consent (honestly it sounds ridiculous to me) but definitely it’s not a legal responsibility.

    The girl is a major and the amount lying in her name is HER money. Surprising it may sound to some people, her father has no valid claim over this amount whether he earned it or not. It’s a gift he gave to his child and being a major now the child is free to decide what she does with it.

    Hence, I don’t see how the court can order the Bank to give money to her father in a direct violation of banking regulations. They could have ordered daughter to return the amount after getting it from bank, if they are so concerned with the social norms.

    For people calling it a bad bank, it’s simply not true. Bank did say it would honor court’s judgment even if it’s against the rules. That’s all it can do anyway.

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  16. I work in a bank and hopefully can clarify some points.

    Replying to Siddharth and MR: The child here may have a moral responsibility to return the money she got from a person who parts ways with her for a decision she made without his consent (honestly it sounds ridiculous to me) but definitely it’s not a legal responsibility.

    The girl is a major and the amount lying in her name is HER money. Surprising it may sound to some people, her father has no valid claim over this amount whether he earned it or not. It’s a gift he gave to his child and being a major now the child is free to decide what she does with it.

    Hence, I don’t see how the court can order the Bank to give money to her father in a direct violation of banking regulations. They could have ordered daughter to return the amount after getting it from bank, if they are so concerned with the social norms.

    For people calling it a bad bank, it’s simply not true. Bank did say it would honor court’s judgment even if it’s against the rules. That’s all it can do anyway.

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  17. I work in a bank and hopefully can clarify some points.

    Replying to Siddharth and MR: The child here may have a moral responsibility to return the money she got from a person who parts ways with her for a decision she made without his consent (honestly it sounds ridiculous to me) but definitely it’s not a legal responsibility.

    The girl is a major and the amount lying in her name is HER money. Surprising it may sound to some people, her father has no valid claim over this amount whether he earned it or not. It’s a gift he gave to his child and being a major now the child is free to decide what she does with it.

    Hence, I don’t see how the court can order the Bank to give money to her father in a direct violation of banking regulations. They could have ordered daughter to return the amount after getting it from bank, if they are so concerned with the social norms.

    For people calling it a bad bank, it’s simply not true. Bank did say it would honor court’s judgment even if it’s against the rules. That’s all it can do anyway.

    Like

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