New Delhi: In a stunning new development in Kerala ‘love jehad case’, the Supreme Court on Thursday set aside the Kerala High Court’s earlier order and reinstated Hadiya, alias Akhila Ashokan’s marriage to her husband Shafin Jahan. However, the court stated that the probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against the husband related to his alleged terror links will continue.
25-year-old Hadiya, the woman who is at the centre of an alleged love jihad controversy, had recently filed an affidavit before the top court claiming that she had willingly converted to Islam and wanted to live with Jahan as his wife. She has also claimed that her husband was wrongly portrayed as a terrorist by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and he has nothing to do with the Middle East-based terror group ISIS.
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Chief Justice Dipak Misra, along with Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, who was hearing the matter, scrapped the Kerala High Court’s order which had annulled the marriage. The apex court bench concluded that after their interaction with the 25-year-old girl they had found that she had “exercised her consent in getting married”.
The matter had come to fore when Jahan had challenged the Kerala High Court’s order annulling his marriage with Hadiya and sending her to her parents’ custody. On November 27 last year, the apex court had freed Hadiya from her parents’ custody and sent her to college to pursue studies, even as she had pleaded that she should be allowed to go with her husband. Hadiya’s father had claimed that Shafin Jahan was a “radicalised man” and he has had links with the person who used to recruit for ISIS.
Amidst inter-faith marriage controversy, NIA denies behaving with Hadiya with prejudice
In February, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra questioned whether the High Court could nullify a marriage between “vulnerable adults” after the father of the 25-year-old woman Hadiya justified the order.
“Can a court say a marriage between the consenting adults is not genuine? We cannot say that she married the right person or the marriage was in her best interest. She came to us and told that she married by her own choice”, a bench also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said.
The apex court had on January 23 made it clear that the National Investigation Agency cannot probe the marital status of Hadiya and Jahan.
The NIA probe has so far found that Jahan was in touch with Manseed and Safvan – accused in the Omar-al-Hindi case through Facebook group dealing with activities of SDPI, the political arm of Popular Front of India (PFI) – through Muneer, a common friend who is known to Sainaba, Hadiya’s court-appointed guardian.
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The Kerala High Court had on May 29 annulled the marriage of Hadiya with her husband Shafi Jahan, terming it as an instance of ‘love jihad’, following which the man approached the apex court.
Hadiya was in the custody of her parents for almost six months after the Kerala High Court had on May 29 annulled her marriage. She is currently continuing her studies at a college in Salem in Tamil Nadu after the Supreme Court allowed her to move out of her parents’ custody. Hadiya, a Hindu by birth, had converted to Islam a few months before her marriage.