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Kerala love jihad: Was HC justified in nullifying Hadiya’s marriage, asks SC

New Delhi:The Supreme Court made it clear that it can’t go into the legality of the marriage between Akhila, alias Hadiya, an alleged victim of “love jihad”, and Shafin Jahan and it was open to the National Investigation Agency to continue its probe.
A three-judge bench of CJI Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Kanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud questioned whether the Kerala 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”, the bench said.
Senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for Hadiya’s father Asokan, contended that the Kerala high court was justified in nullifying the marriage under Article 226 of Constitution and exercised its power considering the facts and circumstances of the case.
Divan submitted that as she has been indoctrinated her consent should not be treated as absolute. He argued that Hadia was a pawn in a “huge organisational apparatus” to radicalise young persons in Kerala. He said two criminal cases had been registered against Shafin Jahan.
The CJI told the counsel, “The issue pertains to marital relationship. The issue is whether the Kerala high court exercising its jurisdiction in a habeas corpus petition could have annulled the marriage and order custody of the girl to the father. We will examine only the legal principles. Let the NIA continue its probe and we are not bothered about it.”
Divan, citing documents, said that the girl was indoctrinated by radical elements. The boy is a member of the core committee of the SDPI called, Thanal. Mansy Bouraqui, an ISIS agent, was also a part of the said committee.