Kerala: The Supreme Court in a hearing on Monday in the ‘Kerala Love Jihad’ case has ordered the state government to render protection to Hadiya alias Akhila so that she can complete the Ayurveda studies at Salem College. The Apex Court also overruled her wish that her husband is made her guardian at her Medical College and appointed the college Dean as her guardian during the course of study at the college. Responding to her request that her husband be made her guardian, the court said, “A wife is not a chattel and the husband cannot be her guardian.”
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud interacted with the 25-year old Hadiya for nearly half-an-hour and posed questions on her life, ambition, studies, and hobbies before giving an order in the case.
In the court, answering questions about her future plans, Hadiya requested that the court allow her to continue her studies. She said that she wanted to be left alone with her husband Shaffin Jahan. “I want freedom….I want to remain true to my faith,” was the statement made by her in the court, reported First Post. She further added that she had been in unlawful custody for the last 11 months. She however, pledged to be a good doctor. The Court while ordering that she continue her course at Salem college, refused to comment on the marriage or her reunion with Shafin,
It was the annulment of Hadiya/ Shafin Jahan marriage by the Kerala High Court that brought the case to the Supreme Court.
The Kerala High Court is said to have annulled the marriage on the grounds “She has no idea as to what she wants in life. She appears to be under the control of someone else. It is evident that she has been indoctrinated and influenced by persons whose identities have not been ascertained.” The judiciary exercised its parens patriate ( a protective role where citizens do not have the capacity to protect themselves) jurisdiction over the matter.
The 24-year-old, Hadiya, has been in the headlines after her conversion to Islam, following her marriage to Shafin Jahan. Jahan moved the apex court in September seeking a recall of SC’s earlier order directing National Investigation Agency (NIA) to probe the matter, which has famously been dubbed the Kerala ‘love jihad’ case.
Hadiya’s parents had alleged that her marriage was a case of love jihad or forceful conversion through marriage. The Supreme Court had asked the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to look into the alleged ‘Love Jihad’ angle in the case.
The Supreme Court’s intervention, during Shafin’s appeal, in the case came with security concerns; according to the apex court, Hadiya was forcibly indoctrinated, and that there was a pattern of forced conversions in India. A National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe was ordered, and her father appointed her custodian by the court.