Supreme Court to examine whether Kerala HC can annul marriage

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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.

Shafin Jahan has challenged the high court's decision and has also questioned the Supreme Court's permission to the National Investigation Agency to examine his marriage.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said: "We want to know how the Kerala High Court can annul the marriage under Article 226 of the Constitution by exercising its special powers to entertain pleas against the State". The High Court had annulled the marriage saying that it was unusual for a woman in her 20s to pursue an alien faith while studying a professional course and then had ordered the NIA probe.

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.

Dushyant Dave, appearing for Shafin, told the court that the NIA probe 'shakes the very foundation of this multi religious country.' Dave said that the SC had gone beyond its jurisdiction by declaring an NIA probe.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that it will examine whether a High Court can annul a marriage while hearing a plea by the parents of a girl who had married a boy from a different religion. The court has questioned the Kerala High Court's ruling in the case. "Will your lordships order NIA enquiry against them".

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The court was considering a petition filed by Hadiya's husband, Shafin Jahan, challenging the SC verdict ordering an NIA probe into the girl's conversion and marriage.

Justice RV Ravindran, a retired judge of the apex court, is supervising the investigation.

Shafeen Jahan married Akhila Ashokan in December past year after she converted to Islam and rechristened herself as Hadiya.

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.

It was alleged that the woman was recruited by Islamic State's mission in Syria and Jahan was only a stooge.