Kerala convert case: SC to hear Hadiya in open court on Nov 27, says woman’s consent is prime

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The top court was hearing a Muslim man’s request for overturning a Kerala high court order that ‘annulled’ his marriage with a Hindu girl after she converted to Islam.

The consent of 24-year-old Hadiya Shafin as an adult is “prime”, the Supreme Court said on Monday as it heard the “love jihad” case from Kerala that is being investigated by the National Investigation Agency.

According to a report in Hindustan Times, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra also asked Hadiya’s father to produce her on November 27, the next date of hearing in the case, and said it will interact with her in an open hearing at 3pm.

The Centre, on its part, said parental authority can be invoked in cases where someone is manipulated or indoctrinated.

Homeopathic doctor Hadiya, born Akhila Ashokan, married Shafin Jahan without her family’s consent last December. Her father, retired military man Ashokan KM, approached the high court in May, alleging in his petition that there was a “well-oiled systematic mechanism” for conversion and Islamic radicalisation.

Ashokan told the high court in May the forces that played a key role in the alleged indoctrination and conversion of his daughter were planning to send her to the war-torn Syria as a human bomb for the terror group.

The high court annulled Hadiya’s marriage and ordered her to return to live with her parents in the southern state’s Kottayam district.

Hadiya’s husband Shafin challenged the high court’s May 24 order annulling their marriage in the top court. The Supreme Court also ordered a probe by the NIA into the matter as the agency claimed it was not an isolated incident of “love jihad” but a “pattern” that was emerging in Kerala.

“Love jihad” is a controversial term coined by fringe outfits to describe cases of what they believe are forced marriages between Muslim men and Hindu women. They also allege such couples often work for terrorist groups.

The parents of some of the missing persons from the state, who are suspected to have joined the IS, also lauded the SC decision and said they would come forward to help the father.

During the previous case hearing, however, Chief Justice Misra questioned the Kerala high court’s order annulling the marriage. The top court had also questioned the legality of Hadiya’s father keeping her in his custody.

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