In an important development in the Hadiya case, the Supreme Court on Tuesday questioned whether the Kerala High Court can annul her marriage by exercising its writ powers.
The SC observed that Hadiya is 24 and has the right to make decisions about her life on her own. The bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, said it would examine how the High Court annulled the woman's marriage under Article 226.
The court made the observation while considering a petition from Hadiya's husband Shafin Jahan, challenging an earlier SC verdict, which ordered an NIA probe into the conversion and marriage. He also alleged that Hadiya has been under house arrest for months.
Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for Shafin, argued that in a multi-religious society the apex court should not have ordered NIA investigation in the case and urged for an urgent hearing on the plea seeking recall of the order.
The court replied that it will hear the case on Monday, October 9. "Pattern or no pattern, the question is, can the high court annul the marriage by exercising its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution," said the bench, which also comprises Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud.
Hadiya aka Akhila Asokan, who hails from Vaikom in Kottayam district, had converted to Islam last year and married Shafin Jahan.
Her father Ashokan KM filed a complaint in the High Court, alleging that there was a "well-oiled systematic mechanism" for conversion and Islamic radicalisation. It was also alleged that the woman was recruited by Islamic State's mission in Syria and Shafin was only a stooge.
The High Court, while declaring the marriage as "null and void", had described the case as an instance of 'love jihad' and ordered the state police to conduct probe into such cases.