Continuing hearing in the Kerala ‘love jihad’ case, the Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra on Monday observed that the consent of Hadiya, alias Akhila Ashokan, is important for marriage as she is a major.
Declining a plea by Hadiya’s father to hold in-camera proceedings, the bench directed him to produce her before it at 3 pm on November 27. She will testify in an open court, the bench said.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by Shafin Jahan, the husband of Akhila Ashokan alias Hadiya, in the Kerala ‘love jihad’ case seeking to overturn the orders of the Kerala High Court that annulled his marriage with the 24-year-old.
The Kerala High Court had in May this year set aside the marriage of Shafin Jahan with Hadiya and entrusted her custody to her parents. The court had based its orders on the account given by Hadiya’s father who submitted that his daughter was forcefully converted to Islam and also alleged Shafin’s links with terror group ISIS. The two got married in December 2016.
Recently, in a video released by social activist Rahul Eashwar in Kochi, Hadiya alleged mistreatment at the hands of her father and threat to her life pleading: “You have to get me out. I am sure I will be killed tomorrow or the day after. My father is getting angry, I know. When I walk, he is pushing me and kicking me. If my head or any body part hits somewhere and I die….”
The Supreme Court had ordered a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) into the matter, to ascertain whether if there is a wider angle of ‘love-jihad’ involved in the case.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had examined two Hindu women from Kerala who reportedly said they were lured to convert to Islam but were not forced, said officials from the agency. NIA officials said the agency had asked Kerala Police for details of alleged forced conversions at Therbiyathul Islam Sabha in Kozhikode, a religious centre authorised by the Kerala government where Akhila is learnt to have converted.
The SC had earlier said that it would also examine the question whether the Kerala High Court, by exercising its powers under the writ jurisdiction, could annul the marriage. “The question is whether a High Court, on an Article 226 petition, can annul the marriage,” CJI Misra had said.
The Kerala government has earlier told the Supreme Court that a state investigation into the marriage of a Muslim man to a Hindu woman who had embraced Islam had not found anything that would warrant a probe by the NIA.