Hadiya free to live with her husband, says SC

Shafin Jahan and Hadiya. Credit Facebook  Hadiya

Shafin Jahan and Hadiya. Credit Facebook Hadiya

Upholding freedom of choice, the Supreme Court in a landmark judgement on Thursday restored the marriage of 26-year-old Hadiya and set aside the May 2017 Kerala high court order that had annulled her marriage with Shafin Jahan.

Acting on a plea filed by her father, who alleged his daughter was being indoctrinated and may be taken overseas by extremist Islamic organizations, the Kerala high court annulled her marriage on 25 May 2017 and sent her to her parents' home, triggering an uproar.

On October 3, the Supreme Court had said it would examine whether the high court could annul the marriage following a petition by her parents.

The NIA was previously asked by the apex court to investigate allegations that the a terror angle was involved in Hadiya's conversion to Islam and subsequent marriage to Shefin Jahan.

She was however not allowed to unite with her husband.

The Supreme Court held that the high court could not annul the marriage under article 226 of the Constitution of India and also based its contentions on Hadiya's statements in the court, recorded in November a year ago.

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Hadiya Jahan, who is in her 20s, was born into a Hindu family, but converted to Islam and married a Muslim man.

In November, the Supreme Court had said that Hadiya can leave her parents' house and go back to college in Tamil Nadu.

The apex court, however, directed the National Investigation Agency to continue their probe into the alleged case of "love jihad" without "interfering into Hadiya's marriage".

Hadiya's father, KM Ashokan, has refused to give up, and cited the NIA continuing the probe as proof that the investigative body thinks Shafin Jahan is a terrorist.

According to agency reports, in a fresh affidavit, K M Asokan said that his daughter was a "vulnerable adult" and she "abjectly surrendered herself to complete strangers who adopted her into their fold, offering her shelter and protection and further imparted religious indoctrination in an isolated environment". The Court said that Hadiya cannot be in anyone's custody and that she can willingly follow her pursuits. Jahan moved the Supreme Court in August 2017, two months after the HC court order.

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