Coming to the rescue of an inter-faith couple, who said they “fear for their lives” as the woman had converted, the Delhi High Court directed police to comply with the Supreme Court’s directions in the Hadiya-Shafin Jahan case and provide them security.
In March this year, the apex court had set aside the Kerala High Court order annulling Hadiya’s marriage with Jahan, and directed police to ensure the safety of couples of inter-religious marriages. Referring to the case, Justice A K Chawla said, “It goes without saying that police shall provide necessary protection to the persons and properties of the petitioners in discharge of their duties, and to ensure compliance of the directions of the Supreme Court” in case of ‘Shafin Jahan vs Asokan KM and others’, “in letter and spirit”. The court also said that police shall ensure the confidentiality of their present whereabouts.
“Mobile numbers of the ACP and the area SHO concerned shall be furnished to the petitioners. Petitioners would be at liberty to call the ACP/SHO in the event of any exigency for protection… In case of any emergency, they would also be at liberty to call the ACP,” it said.
The 23-year-old Muslim man and his 26-year-old wife alleged that the woman’s family, who are Hindus, has been threatening them, and that they were being harassed under the guise of investigation. Advocate Devjyoti Dey told the court that police officers are duty bound to protect the petitioners. “Instead of following the directions of the apex court, the respondents are privileging the miscreants and depriving the innocents,” the lawyer submitted.
Speaking to The Indian Express, the man had earlier said, “We were in love, so we got married. We have nothing to do with religion; my wife converted to Islam as per her own choice.”
The plea also claimed that “there is a great chance of loss of lives due to the partiality as well as negligent attitude of local police”. The couple were provided shelter by an NGO before they approached the DCW. The court sought a status report from police and listed the matter for hearing on July 31.