SC De­cides to Meet Hadiya in Open Court on Nov 27

An in­ter­ac­tion with the Supreme Court bench is likely to as­cer­tain the Ker­ala woman’s men­tal state and whether or not she had given free con­sent to the mar­riage

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - Sa­man­waya.Rau­tray @times­group.com

New Delhi: The Supreme Court will meet Akhila, aka Hadiya —the 24-year-old at the cen­tre of the al­leged love jihad in­stance from Ker­ala — on Novem­ber 27 in a bid to as­cer­tain for it­self whether she had con­verted to Is­lam and mar­ried Shafin Ja­han of her own “vo­li­tion and de­sire.”

A three-judge bench led by Chief Jus­tice of In­dia Di­pak Misra di­rected Hadiya’s fa­ther to pro­duce her in open court, shrug­ging off his plea for an in-cam­era hear­ing. The fa­ther, through se­nior ad­vo­cate Shyam Di­van, also asked court to con­sider the Na­tional In­ves­ti­ga­tion Agency (NIA) in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­fore a de­ci­sion.

Misra, how­ever, as­sured the fa­ther that she would not be im­me­di­ately sent back to her hus­band.

Di­van said a rad­i­calised, in­doc­tri­nated per­son can­not be said to have a free will. She was a pawn in a “huge or­gan­i­sa­tional ap­pa­ra­tus” to rad­i­calise young per­sons in Ker­ala, he al­leged. The man she claimed to have mar­ried had two crim­i­nal cases against him, Di­van ar­gued.

How­ever, the CJI re­fused to budge from the de­ci­sion, in­sist­ing that in a case in­volv­ing a mar­i­tal re­la­tion­ship, a court can­not an­nul mar­riage and send the girl back to her fa­ther.

“We will ex­am­ine only the le­gal prin­ci­ples,” he said, which clearly state that a ma­jor girl can marry who­ever she wanted to.

NIA, stresses on in­doc­tri­na­tion and rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion in Ker­ala DI­PAK MISRA, CJI

The bench, also com­pris­ing Jus­tices AM Khan­wilkar and DY Chan­drachud, re­fused to ac­cept the NIA plea though Ad­di­tional Solic­i­tor Gen­eral Manin­der Singh urged a look at its pre­lim­i­nary re­port be­fore seek­ing the woman’s pres­ence be­fore it.

There can­not be valid free con­sent in a case of rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion and in­doc­tri­na­tion, Singh ar­gued, adding that there is such a pat­tern in 89 cases re­ported from Ker­ala. The Pop­u­lar Front of In­dia was in­volved in nine such cases and Hadiya’s al­leged hus­band was also a PFI ac­tivist, said the ASG. “She’s been in­doc­tri­nated to hate her own re­li­gion and par­ents.”

The CJI said, the bench would “in­ter­act with the girl in open court to take a pre­lim­i­nary as­sess­ment of her men­tal state. If we sus­pect any in­doc­tri­na­tion, this court has pow­ers to di­rect her de­tailed ex­am­i­na­tion by ap­pro­pri­ate au­thor­i­ties.”

“There is noth­ing in law that stops some­one from fall­ing in love and mar­ry­ing a crim­i­nal. We will not send the girl with her hus­band af­ter speak­ing with her. We want to know whether she acted on her own vo­li­tion and de­sire,” the CJI added. “Let the NIA con­tinue its probe.”

High­light­ing that this was a case of in­doc­tri­na­tion, not the usual habeas cor­pus that ne­ces­si­tated a per­son’s pres­ence, Singh said, “Con­sti­tu­tional courts re­spond to rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion. In the US and UK, courts re­spond well be­fore a per­son crosses over to the realm of crim­i­nal­ity. Courts can­not re­main silent in plu­ral so­ci­eties.”

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