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04 Dec 2023, Edition - 3065, Monday

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India News

Love jihad, national anthem, Rohingyas: How Centre is getting serial setbacks in Supreme Court



Harish V Nair | Edited by Shreya Biswas

As the Supreme Court summons Hadiya in Kerala’s alleged love jihad case, the Modi government, which had opposed to summoning her without going through NIA’s probe report, takes yet another setback.

At the end of a stormy hour-long hearing, the Chief Justice Dipak Misra-led bench of the Supreme Court on Monday ordered the father of the 24-year-old in Kerala’s sensational ‘love jihad’ case to produce her before them on November 27.

After the SC’s rather negative remarks on the national anthem and the Rohingya issues, this decision was yet another clear blow to the Modi government, which through the National Investigative Agency vociferously opposed to summoning the girl without going through its probe report.

At stake was the issue of ‘love jihad’ which the BJP is so passionately raising in Kerala. The SC said it is not bothered about “love jihad” or “indoctrination” theories for the time being, but only about the girl’s consent to marriage.

The three judges wish to ascertain the mental state of Akhila — an adult who converted to become Hadiya — if she married Shafin Jahan as per her wish, or if she was willing to be with her father Ashokan, to whom the Kerala High Court gave her custody after quashing her marriage?

The interaction is set to have a huge bearing on the case as CJI Misra, who has questioned the high court order, has been repeatedly saying that if the girl — an adult — had married Jahan as per own free will, her consent was valid and no force can separate her from her husband, and in that case the father was keeping her in “illegal confinement”.

Significantly, the video clips of medical student Hadiya, in which she is saying that she has married Jahan of her own volition and is being “tortured by her father” who has kept her in forced “confinement”, is already viral.

It will be a huge boost for Jahan, who has moved the SC through his lawyer Haris Beeran, seeking quashing of the high court order if she repeats the same before the SC.

It will also be a massive setback for the Centre which, using the case, is trying to prove the “rampant” love jihad in Kerala.

Additional solicitor general Maninder Singh, appearing for the Centre and NIA had vehemently pleaded with the court to go through its probe report before summoning her. However, the CJI rejected it.

The report had said that Hadiya case was not an isolated one but she was one of those trapped as part of a “well-oiled racket that uses psychological measures to indoctrinate people and persuade them to join terror groups such as ISIS” as alleged by her father and endorsed by state HC, which annulled the marriage. Singh said probe found 89 such cases of indoctrination in Kerala.

Singh argued that consent of an adult “normally, usually, generally” is valid but the one given under “indoctrination” amounted to “psychological kidnapping”. However, the CJI Mishra then said: “All these aspects will be dealt with later. First we want to listen to the girl”.

When Singh said Hadiya had married a criminal, the CJI shot back: “Is there a rule that a girl cannot fall in love and marry a criminal?” Also, the father of 24-year-old Hadiya told the apex court: “She always dreamt of becoming a homeopathy doctor. And one fine day, she says she wants to rear sheep in Syria”. However, even after his words, the bench remained unmoved.

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