LOVE OR JEHAD
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.