Love jihad or not: Courts should not be forced to act like Khap panchayats

First Published 30, Oct 2017, 2:02 PM IST
Love jihad or not Courts should not be forced to act like Khap panchayats
Highlights
  • Supreme Court is being asked to intervene in the Nimisha case like the Kerala High Court did in the Hadiya case
  • Taking into account the recent judgements pronounced by the SC it seems more like a Khap panchayat, deciding as to how people will live their life and where
  • Who gave them the power to make these decisions is the question that begs an answer   

There has been no official evidence to support this but since 2009, South India, especially Kerala and Mangalore have been abuzz with stories of alleged conversions and love jihad. While the Hadiya case had generated a lot of debate. Another mother from Kerala is stepping forward and has moved the Supreme Court seeking a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) into her daughter's alleged conversion to Islam through 'love jihad'.

In July this year, Bindu Sampath submitted a petition in the Kerala High Court seeking a directive to the Central government and Union Ministry of External Affairs to take steps to rescue her daughter, Nimisha, from Afghanistan and the custody of ISIS.

Nimisha, who now goes by the name Fathima, according to her mother’s petition was lured into a relationship, abused, impregnated, forced to abort, converted to Islam and finally abandoned by one Sajjad Rehman, all this when she was studying in college. In her (daughter's) vulnerable state, she was coerced into marriage by one Isa alias Baxen Vincent, who had himself converted to Islam from Christianity.

Now the Supreme Court is being asked to intervene in this case, like the Kerala High Court did in the Hadiya case. It appears as though parents have thought that errant sons and daughters and rebellious teens can be brought to book or behave by the Supreme Court.

Also read: No Punches Pulled: Attorney General at long last bells the cat, protests against judicial overreach

Increasingly such cases are being brought before the Supreme Court and seems like the judicial body is becoming more like a Khap Panchayat.

Like love jihad is associated with the south, the Khap Panchyat is a body familiar to North India. They are known for their harsh dictats and punishment were anybody to go against their rules. They also claim be custodians of Indian culture and caste and are quick to denounce any rebellions among young women and men. Their area of focus extends from ordering punishments (sometimes even death) on couples getting married in the same sub-caste, inter-religious marriages, and encourage honour killing.  

With the Hadiya case, the Kerala High Court can be seen acting like a Khap deciding where Hadiya would spend her life and with whom, despite she being a consenting adult. In Fathima’s case, the Kerala High Court allowed her to go live with Isa. Now the parents want their daughter back. While respecting the sentiments of the aggrieved parents it seems like every time a youngster wants to exercise their freedom to marry whom they choose, parents can threaten to call the Supreme Court on them.

Also read: Denying marriage certificate citing objection by parents amounts to human rights violation: KSHRC

Increasing interference of the Supreme Court and local courts in matters of religion and personal laws has not gone unnoticed. Public Interest Litigations have become weapons of mass destruction because anyone and everyone who is disgruntled files one. From ordering where liquor shops should be, to whether they should burst crackers, people’s lives are being decided by the judiciary.

The supposed love jihad cases are of two consenting adults deciding to marry each other and changing their religion according to their wishes. If like a meddling adult, the courts will monitor the love life of the citizens, then it would soon see its petition boxes filled to the brim with disappointed parents. Let the children make their own mistakes, their own choices, they are adults!

Newly appointed Attorney General for India KK Venugopal hits the nail right on the head when he took to task the SC : “Article 21 is worded negatively but Your Lordships have read at least thirty positive rights into it. And they cannot be enforced.”

Cases of judicial overreach have doubled in recent times and it is time the honourable Supreme Court see how their judgements are negatively affecting the people who are losing faith in the judiciary now than ever before. If the SC is sitting to do the role of parents, politicians and judge then our elected representatives can as much as pack up and leave. Who gave them the power to make these decisions is the question that begs an answer.   

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