Kerala: The Supreme Court of India, on Monday said that there are no laws that prohibit a person from loving a criminal. The Apex Court made this statement and pulled up the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection to the Hadiya /Akhila Love Jihad case.
“Even if the husband has a criminal record, does the girl not have a right to marry a criminal? Marriage is a personal affair and (there is) no law to state that a person cannot marry a criminal,” the Supreme Court observed.
While directing Hadiya/Akhila to appear before it on November 27 at 3 pm, the Court questioned as to under what law the parental authority falls. “Questions should be asked to the person who is in confines and whose interests are at stake. We are not going by any pulse or impulse. We are going by the laws,” said the Court taking an undertaking from Hadiya’s father to produce her in court. The Court has decided to take call only after speaking to Hadiya and assessing her mental condition.
The NIA told the court that “indoctrination and radicalisation must be an exception to free consent”. Comparing indoctrination to “psychological kidnapping”, the NIA said that “parental jurisdiction should be invoked”.
The Supreme Court said that while the state must act if “there are national security threats”, individual rights must not be curtailed unnecessarily. The court said that it will verify if Hadiya can give free consent and will also examine if parental authority can be exercised on a major.
The Hadiya case
Akhila Ashokan, a homeopathic graduate had converted to Islam and married Shafin Jahan. Thereafter she took the name Hadiya. Hadiya’s parents approached the Kerala High Court, which annulled the marriage calling it a case of ‘love Jihad’ and directed Hadiya to return to her parents.
Hadiya’s husband Shafin moved the Supreme Court in August challenging the high court’s order. The court directed the National Investigation Agency to investigate the alleged forced conversion.