For The record: ‘It is absolutely unsafe to let (24-year-old) be free to do as she likes’

Excerpts from Kerala HC verdict that declared void the marriage of a converted Muslim woman

By: Express News Service | Published:May 31, 2017 1:04 am
kerala high court, malayalam news channel, kerala high court bail, tv channel ceo bail, kerala, indian express Kerala High Court. Wikimedia commons

Last week, a division bench of Kerala High Court, comprising Justices Surendra Mohan and Abraham Mathew declared null and void the marriage of a converted Muslim convert woman, Akhila or Hadiya, with Shafin Jahan, 27, of Kollam. The division bench allowed the custody of the 24-year-old woman to her father K M Ashokan, who belongs to Hindu Ezhava community, from Kottayam.
The verdict has triggered protest from various Muslim organisations, whose members marched to the high court Monday, seeking that the order be revoked. Jahan, 27, plans to appeal against it.

Excerpts from the verdict:

“A girl aged 24 years is weak and vulnerable, capable of being exploited in many ways. This court exercising parens patriae jurisdiction is concerned with the welfare of a girl of her age. The duty of this court to ensure the safety of at least the girls who are brought before it can be discharged only by ensuring that Akhila is in safe hands. The 7th respondent (Akhila’s guardian) has proved that she is unworthy of the trust reposed in her, by her conduct in weaning Akhila away from her parents and by having a sham of a marriage ceremony performed with a person like Shafin Jahan, who is an accused in a criminal case, apart from being associated with persons having extremist links.”

***********

“Another division bench of this court has in Lal Parameswar vs Ullas (supra) recognised parental authority over even a female who has attained majority. We are in respectful agreement with the said dictum. A single bench of this court has in Shahan Sha A vs State of Kerala (supra) taken note of the functioning of radical organisations pursuing activities of converting young girls of Hindu religion to Islam on the pretext of love. The fact remains that such activities are going on around us in our society. Therefore, it is only appropriate that the petitioner and his wife, who are the parents, are given custody of Akhila. She shall be cared for, permitted to complete her house surgeon course and made professionally qualified so that she would be in a position to stand independently on her own two legs.”

***********

“Her marriage being the most important decision in her life, can also be taken only with the active involvement of her parents. The marriage which is alleged to have been performed is a sham and is of no consequence in the eye of law. The 7th respondent and her husband had no authority or competence to act as the guardian of Akhila and to give her in marriage. Therefore, the alleged marriage is null and void. It is declared to be so.”

***********

“The forces operating from behind the curtain have succeeded in creating a hostility in the mind of Akhila towards her parents. During our interactions, we have seen the anguish and sorrow of the father, who was pleading with his daughter to return home. The petitioner has in his reply stated that he has no objection in Akhila carrying on worship and following religious practices in accordance with her Islamic beliefs. He has also stated that he would afford necessary facilities for her to perform all the rituals of Islam in her house. Therefore, Akhila can have no complaint against her parents.”

***********

“It is clear that Akhila has no consistent stand or a clear idea about her life or future. It is also clear that she is in a situation where she is acting on the diktats of some others who are bent upon taking her away from her parents.”

***********

“The apprehension expressed by the petitioner in his writ petition that his daughter was likely to be got married to a Muslim, stands substantiated by the events that have unfolded. Her marriage is alleged to have been performed by the 7th respondent [a woman named Zainaba of Kottakkal] and her husband acting as her guardians. They have no right to do so.”

***********

“Akhila has had no contract with Jahan in the past and the marriage has been brought about through a matrimonial site. Her name was registered at the site by the 7th respondent. Neither the alleged detenue nor the 7th respondent appear to be having any constraints on funds. All the above facts point to the existence of an organisational set-up functioning behind the scenes. In the above factual background, we are not satisfied that it is safe to let Akhila [be] free to decide what she wants in her life.”

***********

(Akhila’s counsel had contended it is the absolute right of a person who has attained majority to choose a religion and that the parents have no right to question her choice)

“All the cases relied upon were concerned with girls who had fallen in love with persons belonging to other religions and who wanted to get converted and to live their marital life with the said persons. As we have already noticed above, such a situation does not exist in the present case. Here, the detenue went away from her parents stating that she wanted to become a Muslim alleging that she was attracted to the teachings of the said religion. The said story cannot be believed for the reasons already stated above. In the present state of affairs, it is absolutely unsafe to let Akhila [be] free to do as she likes.’’

***********

“Shafin Jahan was an active member of Social Democratic Party of India. He is also one of the administrators of WhatsApp group ‘SDPI Kerlam’. He is an accused in crime registered in 2013 alleging offences under sections 143, 147, 341, 323, 294(b) read with section 149 of IPC which is pending before the court. He had been active in the Campus Front from college days. ‘SDPI Keralam’ the WhatsApp group of the party has a core committee which is called ‘Thanal’. Mansy Buraqui, who was arrested by the National Investigation Agency at Kanakamala on October 2, 2016, on the allegation that he had connection with Islamic State was also a member of the SDPI Keralam and Thanal. Though it is stated that he had later been removed, the fact remains that Shafin Jahan has association with him.”

***********

“It is clear that Shafin Jahan is only a stooge who has been assigned to play the role of going through a marriage ceremony. The alleged marriage is only a sham and is of no consequence.”

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App

  1. O
    Ob_Server
    May 31, 2017 at 10:13 am
    Both Justices Surendra Mohan and Abraham Mathew are perfectly fit for the sham judiciary of Saudi Arabia where women are legally permanent minors. I urge both the justices to urgently migrate to Saudi Arabia where they will feel fully at home.
    Reply