Kerala's Shafin-Hadia marriage: SC to examine whether HC can annul marriage

Faith Castro
October 4, 2017

The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, agreed to examine whether the Kerala High Court overstepped its judicial powers by annulling the marriage of Hadiya alias Akhila Ashokan with Shafin Jahan in what has come to be known popularly as the Kerala love jihad case. The father can not say he should have 24-hour custody of her.

The bench also wondered whether the 24-year-old woman could be forced to live in her father's custody.

Shafin Jahan, has filed an another plea in SC challenging the HC order saying it was an "an insult to the independence of woman in India".

The SC in August had ordered a NIA probe into the plea of a Muslim man Shafin Jahan whose marriage with a Hindu woman (Hadiya) was annulled by the Kerala High Court, which had termed it a "love jihad".

The apex court has posted the case for October 9.

Meanwhile, the NIA has pointed to a "pattern" of a series of similar incidents of conversion and marriage. Jahan has in turn pleaded with the Supreme Court to cancel the NIA probe.

Dushyant Dave senior advocate for Jahan said the order quashing the marriage'struck at the very foundation of a multi-religious society and sent wrong signal world over

"Can the High Court, under Article 226, nullify a marriage...we want logical, legal arguments on this".

However, Hadiya's father, has maintained that his daughter was a "helpless victim" trapped by a "well-oiled racket" which used "psychological measures" to indoctrinate people and convert them to Islam.

The woman is presently in her parents' custody at their house near Kottayam.

"State is not in appeal, father is not in appeal, NIA is not in appeal".

Shafeen Jahan married Akhila Ashokan in December previous year after she converted to Islam and rechristened herself as Hadiya. In the interest of justice it would be appropriate and just to recall the order of this Court dated August 16, 2017 to the extent of the directions to NIA to investigate this matter, and direct the Detenue to be produced before this Court, he said in the application. "Will Your Lordships order an NIA probe into these marriages too?" It was alleged that the woman was recruited by the ISIS's mission in Syria and Jahan was only a stooge.

The HC that said it is essential for the parents to be present at the wedding, also made clear that Shafeen had no authority or right to be Hadiya's ward.

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