Supreme Court to examine whether Kerala HC can annul marriage

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court will Tuesday examine the Kerala High Court nullifying the marriage between Akhila alias Hadiya, who is an alleged victim of love jihad and religious conversion, and Shafeen Jahan, who is a native of Kollam. It also wondered if a 24-year-old girl can be kept in her father's custody after the HC's order on May 25.

The bench said a fresh plea from Shafin Jahan will be heard on October 9 where he has sought reversal of the earlier order where the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was ordered to probe all the angles in the case.

The court had doubts about its own August 16 order wherein it asked the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to probe the conversion and marriage of Hindu girl Akhila, now known as Hadiya after conversion, in Kerala in 2016.

The apex court then intervened and asked the NIA to probe the marriage after doubts were raised as this was a case of "love jihad".

Live Law reported that senior lawyer Dushyant Dave also made scathing arguments agains the NIA proble.

Last December Shafin Jahan married to Hindu woman had now moved to the apex court and High court to nullify his marriage.

Raising his voice, Dave said the apex court had exceeded jurisdiction and must recall order.

Appearing for NIA, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta brought to the notice of the court that the order for a NIA probe was passed with the consent of senior counsel Kapil Sibal, who appeared for the petitioner, Shafin Jahan.

Hadiya's father plea says Hahan is a criminal and his daughter was trapped by a network with connections to Popular Front of India and even the Islamic State.

He said despite Justice Raveendran declining to supervise the probe, the NIA was preceding with the investigation and it was reported that the NIA has already found a "link".

Questioning the Kerala HC's power to declare a marriage as null, CJI Dipak Misra said, "Either we will appoint loco parentis or we will send her somewhere safe".

The woman, a Hindu, had converted to Islam and later married Jahan.

The Kerala high court had annulled the marriage terming it as an instance of "love jihad", following which he had approached the apex court.

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