Hadiya-Sheffin marriage is legal, rules SC

Hadiya walking out after a court proceeding

The Supreme Court in India has ruled that an Indian woman who has been embroiled in an inter-religious marriage row may now live with her husband. The Kerala High Court, in response to a petition filed by her father, had annulled her marriage.

In its ruling in the Kerala "love jihad" case, the SC asked the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to continue its probe without interfering in the marriage of Hadiya and Jahan.

In a judgment that infantlilised an adult citizen of a democracy, the court said: "A girl aged 24 years is weak and vulnerable, capable of being exploited in many ways". A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had observed that the NIA probe will have no bearing in deciding the aspects of legitimacy of marriage of Hadiya and Shafin Jahan. "They (NIA) can not investigate into the marital status", the top court had observed.

The Kerala High Court in May 2017 had annulled the marriage terming it as an instance of "love jihad", following which Jahan had approached the apex court.

Hadiya was known as Akhila Asokan before she converted.

Hadiya's father said he will consider to file a review petition in the court. The top court had in November 2017 freed Hadiya from her parents and sent her to persue her studies.

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Hadiya has told the court that she embraced Islam and married Jahan of her own will.

Ashokan moved the Kerala High Court again in August 2016 seeking protection for his daughter. Hadiya's father had claimed that Shefin had ISIS links.

The information was part of the Kerala police report on the case.

The NIA, in a counter affidavit to the court, did not deny asking these questions but dismissed Hadiya's statements as "misconceived" and "baseless". Hadiya was provided hostel facility as well. "I want to be with my husband", the 25-year-old woman, wearing a headscarf, shouted to media persons as she was being taken inside the Nedumbassery airport in Kochi amid tight security.

"Today's Supreme Court verdict is not complete".

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