Supreme Court: In the case where Kerala High Court annulled the marriage of a Hindu Girl to a Muslim Boy after her conversion to Islam calling it a case of Love Jihad, the Supreme Court ordered a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) under the supervision of Retired Supreme Court judge Justice RV Raveendran. State had said that it had no objection to the National Investigation Agency carrying out the investigation, subject to this Court’s ensuring that the investigation is fair.

The Court also directed that Justice R.V. Raveendran be paid a consolidated fee of Rs.1,00,000/- for a sitting with National Investigation Agency at Bangalore, and Rs.2,00,000/ per day for travelling outside Bangalore, apart from reimbursement of all travelling, boarding, lodging and secretarial expenses, while discharging the responsibility entrusted to him.

NIA had told the Court that there is a possibility of this being a case of Love Jihad as many cases have come up where the Muslim boys have converted Hindu girls and have married them. The Court directed NIA to look into the matter in order to facilitate the Court in determining the extent of the ramifications of the issue and said that it will take a decision only after considering all the aspects i.e. NIA report, Kerala Police report and the views of the girl. The Court said that it will speak to the girl ‘Akhila’ in camera before taking a final decision.

The bench of JS Khehar, CJ and Dr. DY Chandrachud, J said that it was entrusting the task to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) as a neutral agency to get a “whole picture” and ascertain whether the particular instance was limited to a “small pocket” or was there “something wider” to the issue.

The issue reached the apex court as Kerala-native Shafin Jahan challenged the annulment of his marriage by the Kerala High Court which ordered the State police to probe such cases. It was alleged that the girl, a Hindu, who had converted to Islam and later married Jahan, was recruited by Islamic State’s mission in Syria and Jahan was only a stooge. The NIA has recently conducted probe into some cases of ‘love jihad’ in which women were allegedly being sent to Syria to join the ISIS. [Shafin Jahan v. Asokan KM, Special Leave to Appeal (Crl.) No(s). 5777/2017, order dated 16.08.2017]

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