Hadiya Case: SC asks how can a marriage between consenting adults be annulled by the Court

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 bench headed by Dipak Misra, CJ questioned the Kerala High Court order and asked how can a High Court, in exercise of Article 226 of the Constitution, annul the marriage of a 24 year old girl and force her to live with her father. CJI said:

“Either we will appoint loco parentis or we will send her somewhere safe. Father can’t insist on her custody.”

Earlier, on 16.08.2017, the bench of the then Chief Justice of India, Justice JS Khehar and Dr. DY Chandrachud, J had ordered a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) after the 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 had 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.

Appearing for Shafin Jahan, whose marriage with Hadiya was annulled by the Kerala High Court, Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave argued that the order directing NIA Probe struck at the very foundation of this multi-religious society and was sending terrible signals across the world.  Rejecting his contention that the Court could not have travelled beyond the prayers made in the petition and ordered an NIA investigation, the Court held that it had the power to do so depending on the facts of each case. The Court will, however, observed that Hadiya’s father could not claim custody to her as she was an adult.

The issue reached the Supreme court after 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 Court will now hear the matter on 09.10.2017.

Source: Indian Express

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