Communalism

SC ‘Allows’ Hadiya, an Adult Woman, to Go to Tamil Nadu for Studies

Though she insisted her marriage to Shafin Jahan was voluntary, the court directed she be sent to Salem to study.

Hadiya. Credit: Video screengrab

Hadiya. Credit: Video screengrab

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday spoke to a Kerala woman whose marriage was annulled amidst allegations of ‘forced’ conversion to Islam and ordered that she be sent to Salem in Tamil Nadu to enable her to pursue homoeopathic studies.

They said that this was “as desired by her”.

Hadiya, who is an adult, has been forced to stay at her parents’ home for several months now on the order of the Kerala high court.

The bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and  Justices A. M. Khanwilkar and D. Y. Chandrachud, directed the college and the university to re-admit Hadiya and grant her hostel facilities.

During the hearing which went for over two hours, Hadiya said she wanted to go with her husband, Shafin Jahan.

The top court fixed the next hearing on Jahan’s plea against the Kerala high court order annulling his marriage with Hadiya for the third week of January next year.

In their order, the judges recorded that they had asked Hadiya questions about her “education, qualifications, perceptions of life and what she intends to do in the future.”

Though she submitted before the Supreme Court, according to livelaw.in, that she wants her freedom, wants to go back to her husband and that she wishes to continue her education, but not at the state’s expenses, as her husband is capable of taking care of her, the order refers only to her desire to complete her studies of homeopathy.

“What would be the guiding principles for the court to determine if the autonomy of an adult has been compromised?” Justice Chandrachud asked Kapil Sibal, counsel for Jahan. “And if we proceed with interviewing the girl in question, would that not amount to the court accepting that there has been no indoctrination and that she had consented to converting to Islam for the marriage with her free consent, in a competent state of mind?”

Jahan had on September 20 approached the apex court seeking recall of its order directing the National Investigation Agency to investigate his marriage to a woman who had earlier converted to Islam.

In its order on Monday, the court made it clear that the NIA probe would continue.

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

The top court had on August 16 directed the NIA to probe the incident under the supervision of retired apex court judge, Justice R. V. Raveendran.

Jahan, whose marriage to Hadiya last December  was annulled by the Kerala high court, moved the Supreme Court saying that decision was an insult to the independence of women in the country.


Also read: Hadiya Knows What She Wants. Why Is Nobody Listening?


Hadiya, who was born a Hindu, converted to Islam and later married Jahan. It has been alleged by her father that she was recruited by the Islamic State for a mission in Syria and that Jahan was only a stooge.

Ashokan K. M., the father of the woman, also alleged that there was a “well-oiled systematic mechanism” for conversion and Islamic radicalisation.

The high court, while declaring the marriage as “null and void”, had described the case as an instance of ‘love jihad’ and ordered the state police to conduct a probe into such cases.

With inputs from PTI

Note: The story has been edited to clarify that Hadiya married Jahan after her earlier conversion to Islam.

  • Ashok Akbar Gonsalves

    That this is a matter worth even talking about – let alone it going to the SC – shows that despite all trappings of modernity, our society remains bound to patriarchal and majoritarian tyranny. Like minorities and Dalits, women are just another ball to be kicked around in the game of power played by the majority, now quite brazenly. Good luck in Modi-land, ladies.

    • kujur bachchan

      Very sad and worrisome, indeed. I would like to reptoduce K. Satchidanandan’s following observation: ‘The case in Kerala is not about religion. It is about a woman whose basic rights are being curtailed by the courts, her parents and self-styled protectors.'(The Wire, 27.10.2017)

  • Abhiram

    There is indeed an issue of marriages taking place in Kerala with the sole aim of conversion to the Muslim community and we shouldn’t be living in denial on this issue. This has been reported by government agencies and the media ,latest being through a sting operation by a major English channel. Notwithstanding this aspect, in this particular issue ,the question was on the freedom of choice for an adult woman in this democracy ,and the country’s top court has let us down by acting in a patronizing manner. As the court itself had opined earlier, nothing as per constitution stops consenting adults from marrying each other even if they are criminals.

  • The Wire

    The copy has been edited to correct some inaccuracies that crept in.