Published: Fri, February 23, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Kerala love jihad: Was HC justified in nullifying Hadiya's marriage, asks SC

Kerala love jihad: Was HC justified in nullifying Hadiya's marriage, asks SC

New Delhi:The Supreme Court on Thursday made it clear that it can't go into the legality of the marriage between Akhila, alias Hadiya, an alleged victim of "love jihad", and Shafin Jahan and it was open to the National Investigation Agency to continue its probe.

The apex court was hearing the case of alleged love jihad in Kerala.

Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud who headed the bench with Mishra also commented, "We can not say this marriage is not in her best interest".

Justice D.Y. Chandrachud countered that if there was trafficking of citizens involved, the govt. had the power to stop it on the basis of credible information. He added, "Whether it is in their best interest, it is for each person to decide". If citizens were travelling overseas to be part of a manifest illegality, then too, the government had the authority to stop them.

On the other hand, senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for Hadiya's father, said it was a case of vulnerable adults and the high court was justified in nullifying the marriage by exercising its power under Article 226 of the Constitution.

Hadiya, a 24-year-old from Kerala, had converted to Islam in 2013 and married Shafin Jahan in December 2016. "We can not annul a marriage on the ground that the person she has married is not the right person".

Hadiya's father had requested the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra to defer Thursday's hearing, but the court did not accept the petition.

"Can a court say a marriage between the consenting adults is not genuine?" "What we are concerned with is the consent to marriage". She also stated that she is a Muslim and wanted to remain as a Muslim. It was Hadiya's father Ashokan, upset with her for converting to Islam and marrying Jahan, who told her that she would be trafficked to terrorist countries, Sibal said. "But in personal law, we can not annul marriages because she did not marry the right person", he added. The matter had come to light when Hadiya's husband had challenged the Kerala High Court's order to annul his marriage with Hadiya and sending her to her parents' custody. "Can a court say she did not marry the right person?" the bench asked.

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