India's top court upholds marriage in alleged case of "Love Jihad"

Hadiya's marriage restored

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud set aside the Kerala High Court order annulling their marriage and based the decision on Hadiya's submission earlier that she had married Jahan out of her own free will.

It was during the hearing of this case, where Supreme Court had asked the National Investigation Agency to investigate what the Kerala High Court has observed about the conversions and marriages by organizations while asking Hadiya about her opinion on her marriage with Shefin Jahan. "When the high court had ruled to send Hadiya with me, they snatched her away through this alliance with Jahan". The court, which said the marriage was legal, added that a marriage can not be nullified on the basis of habeas corpus. Whether Hadiya converted as a matter of conscience or as a result of conspiracy and whether she married a Muslim youth out of love or as a result of love jihad can not be determined in isolation from her right as a sane adult to take all such decisions on her own.

The High Court's order was later challenged in Supreme Court by Hadiya's husband Shefin Jahan.

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"She (Hadiya) appeared before this Court on November 27, 2017, and admitted her marriage with appellant No.1". What the Court also mentions is that the Judgement will not affect any ongoing investigations by the NIA.

The three judges of the Supreme Court said in an interim order. "In that case, you may arrest the offender but not investigate into whether or not the marriage is a disguise".

The girl's father, represented by senior advocate Shyam Divan, further pointed out that the court must see the larger picture emerging from this case as to how marriage is used as a device to prevent scrutiny by courts. Neither Hadiya nor Shafin was present in court.

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Justice Chandrachud, however, said that "the moment we step into the realm of public law, we are stepping into a risky domain". "We can't allow the test of reasonableness to the legality of marriage", he said.

Singh urged the court not to take the case lightly saying it was "not a one-off case, there was a common pattern and modus operandi for luring vulnerable girls to convert to Islam by feigning love and the same group of people, who have been identified by the NIA, was behind it".

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