Kerala 'love jihad': SC questions high court order annulling Hadiya's marriage

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It also sought to know how the high court annulled the marriage of the girl under Article 226.

Observing that "a father can't have control over a 24-yr-old girl", the court said that it may send her to a safe home and her father can't insist on her custody. No, said the Supreme Court while hearing the Kerala "love jihad case" on Tuesday.

The ASG said though the NIA was not a party to the proceedings, it was made a party at the instance of the former CJI JS Khehar as the court wanted NIA to find out whether there was any pattern emerging in the love jihad case.

The issue had reached the apex court as Kerala-native Shafin Jahan challenged the annulment of his marriage by the Kerala High Court that ordered the state police to probe such cases.

The apex court then intervened and asked the NIA to probe the marriage after doubts were raised as this was a case of "love jihad".

Hadiya, who was born as Akhila Ashokan, is in her father's custody in Thiruvananthapuram, with many activists alleging that she is being tortured by her family. He also said that it was an insult to the independence of women in the country.

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Appearing for NIA, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta brought to the notice of the court that the order for a NIA probe was passed with the consent of senior counsel Kapil Sibal, who appeared for the petitioner, Shafin Jahan.

The High Court annulled the marriage. Jahan is seeking recall of the order for an NIA probe.

The Kerala Government has said that if the apex court wants an NIA probe, it has no objections. "The state did not file an appeal and father also did not do so", he contended.

The NIA's preliminary report submitted to the top court had hunted that it did not appear to be an isolated case and required further investigation. The marriage was annulled by the Kerala High Court following a petition from her parents.

The woman, a Hindu, had converted to Islam and later married Jahan.

Earlier in August, in compliance with the orders of the top court, the case was re-registered by the NIA and an investigation was taken up. It was alleged that the woman was recruited by the ISIS's mission in Syria and Jahan was only a stooge.