Published: Fri, March 09, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

'Love jihad' case: SC restores Hadiya's marriage to Shafin Jahan

'Love jihad' case: SC restores Hadiya's marriage to Shafin Jahan

Hadiya with her husband Shafin Jahan. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra gave the ruling after NIA lawyer Maninder Singh told the apex court that probe in the case was nearly over.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said that Hadiya was free to live with her husband adding that the High Court should not have intervened under article 226 of the Constitution of India.

Hadiya last month in an affidavit had informed the Apex Court that she embraced Islam and married to Shafin Jahan on her own will. The Kerala High Court's order had annulled her validity of the marriage. Hadiya's father alleged that she was forcibly converted by groups with links to terrorist outfits. The SC bench restored her marriage with her husband Shafin Jahan.

By setting aside the Kerala High Court's decision that described the marriage as a "sham", the order also marks an important course correction.

In a judgment that infantlilised an adult citizen of a democracy, the court said: "A girl aged 24 years is weak and vulnerable, capable of being exploited in many ways".

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Earlier this week, Hadiya's father KM Asokan claimed before the apex court that his efforts prevented his daughter from being transported to "extremist-controlled territories" of Syria to be used as a "sex slave or a human bomb".

The couple were "material and crucial witnesses" and had left India before the NIA took over the probe under the orders of the Supreme Court in August 2017.

Hadiya was known as Akhila Asokan before she converted. Her family, however, didn't allow her to live with him.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had told the high court in the southern state of Kerala that Hadiya was brainwashed by a Muslim man with direct links to Islamic State. Hadiya, in her affidavit, also stated that she wanted to remain as the wife of Safin Jahan. The probe into the cases of Love Jihad by a well oiled network in Kerala would however continue, the Bench said.

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