LOVE OR JEHAD

Alive - - Editorial -

The In­dian Law Courts are over­flow­ing with cases to be de­cided and the norm of lower courts is ad­journ­ment rather than set­tle­ment. Even the Supreme Court has thou­sands of pend­ing cases sev­eral years old await­ing a de­ci­sion.

In this busy sched­ule, the apex Court found time to con­sider the ap­peal of a young man from Ker­ala who wanted to get his wife re­leased from her par­ents who force­fully held her. Nor­mally the cou­ple be­ing adults and mar­ried, the Court could not have any hes­i­ta­tion to con­cede to their de­mand, but some other fac­tors made this case com­pli­cated. Here the woman was a Hindu and the man a Mus­lim, and the par­ents of the girl al­leged that she was brain­washed to con­vert to Is­lam and the man who had links to Is­lamic ter­ror­ist or­gan­i­sa­tions was mar­ried to her as per the Is­lamic scheme of “Love Jehad”.

The Ker­ala High Court an­nulled the mar­riage of Hadiya for­merly Akhila to Shafin Je­han and or­dered she re­main with her par­ents. When the ap­peal came to Supreme Court, the three mem­ber bench asked the Na­tional In­ves­ti­ga­tion Agency (NIA) to find out the par­ent’s con­tention if Hadiya was a vic­tim of ‘Love Jehad’.

Not sat­is­fied with the NIA’s am­bigu­ous stand, the Court wanted to talk di­rectly to Hadiya to find out the facts and called her to the bench. Hadiya spoke with­out any hes­i­ta­tion, with no sign of her be­ing in­flu­enced by in­doc­tri­na­tion. She said she wanted free­dom as an adult to have her choice of faith and love and marry whom she wanted; she was be­ing de­tained by her par­ents and her mar­riage was an­nulled on the ba­sis of false al­le­ga­tions.

Hear­ing to all the sides, at last, Hadiya’s education came to their res­cue: At the time of her mar­riage she was study­ing in a Homeo­pathic col­lege in Se­lam (Tamil­nadu) and com­pleted her course but for the in­tern­ship in the in­sti­tu­tion. The court or­dered that she should com­plete her education stay­ing in the col­lege hos­tel as a free stu­dent un­der the guardian­ship of the Prin­ci­pal. As for the fi­nal ver­dict of the ap­peal, all had to wait to the third week of Jan­uary.

There are some salient fea­tures on the in­terim ver­dict of the Supreme Court on the ap­peal of the man who wanted his wife re­leased to him. Firstly the apex Court did not con­cur with the High Court de­ci­sion of nul­li­fy­ing Hadiya’s mar­riage on the plea that it was a forced one of a ‘love jehad’.

Se­condly, the Court gave a chance to what the woman had to say di­rectly, not through an ad­vo­cate. Thirdly the Court gave an in­terim ver­dict which was ben­e­fi­cial to all par­ties by al­low­ing Hadiya to com­plete her stud­ies to be­come a Homeo doc­tor.

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