No Need for NIA Probe in Hadiya Case, Kerala Government Tells SC

The Kerala police is competent enough to conduct the investigation, the state government's affidavit says, and would have sent a report to the Centre if any scheduled offences were discovered.

New Delhi: The Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government on Saturday questioned the need for a National Investigative Agency probe into the marriage between two consenting adults. The NIA probe into the marriage of Hadiya, who says she converted out of her own free will, and Shafin Jahan was ordered by the Supreme Court.

“Investigation conducted so far by the Kerala police has not revealed any incident relating to commission of any Scheduled Offences to make a report to the Central Government under Section 6 of the National Investigation Agency Act, 2006,” additional chief secretary, home department, Subrata Biswas said in an affidavit, according to the Indian Express.

“The Kerala Police is competent to conduct the investigation in such crimes and would have reported to the Central government if any scheduled offences found to have been committed during such investigation as per the provisions of the NIA Act,” the affidavit continued.

The father of Hadiya (who was formally called Akhila Ashokan) had earlier filed a petition in the Kerala high court alleging that she had been converted by force. The high court then annulled the marriage, which led Shafin Jahan to approach the apex court. The Supreme Court has said it will look into whether the Kerala high court had the powers to annul the marriage.

The NIA, in its preliminary report, had alleged that case was not an isolated one and followed a pattern. The court had then ordered a full-fledged inquiry by the agency.

Various women’s rights groups recently wrote to the state government to intervene and ensure that Hadiya’s autonomy is not further compromised. She is currently being kept in near isolation by her parents. “It is alarming to have an adult woman today to be ordered into ‘protective custody’ of her parent’s home under the orders of a Court, denied mobility, communication and the company of her friends and well wishers,” the letter said.

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