Love Jihad

Supreme Court wants to hear Hadiya but allows her forcible confinement to be prolonged

The case has attracted widespread attention because Hindutva supporters claim that the Kerala woman is a victim of so-called love jihad.

The Supreme Court on Monday said on Monday that it would question Kerala woman Hadiya in the open court on November 27 about whether her marriage to a Muslim man occured with her consent. In May, the Kerala High Court had annulled the marriage.

Hadiya’s case has attracted nationwide attention because Hindutva activists have claimed that it is a case of so-called love jihad – a campaign waged by Muslim men to woo Hindu women in order to convert them to Islam. Hadiya, who was born Hindu, said she converted to Islam willingly before her marriage. But her father, Ashokan, alleged that her former husband Shafin Jahan was conspiring to take his daughter to Syria to fight for the Islamic State group.

He filed a habeas corpus petition in the Kerala Court. The court eventually annulled Hadiya’s marriage and ordered her to return to her parents’s home under police guard.

But on October 3, the Supreme Court wondered how a High Court could annul a marriage using its special powers under Article 226 of the Constitution, which was framed to help the court protect fundamental rights. The annulment of a marriage requires a civil trial.

On Monday, Chief Justice of India Deepak Misra made it clear that the court would decide on the matter only after hearing Hadiya in person. The bench dismissed her father’s plea to conduct the proceedings in camera and ordered him to produce his daughter at 3 pm on November 27.

‘Pattern of indoctrination’

In the course of Monday’s proceedings, Misra asked the lawyers appearing for Ashokan and the National Investigation Agency if there was any legal bar to an adult woman in falling in love with a criminal. The NIA had been brought into the picture by a bench headed by former Chief Justice JS Khehar on August 24, when it asked the agency to investigate whether there was a larger trend of religious indoctrination in Kerala. After Misra as chief justice took over, the court’s position changed. The new chief justice even asked if there was any scope in law for the Supreme Court to move beyond the proceedings in the High Court and order an NIA probe, which was mentioned neither in the petition moved by Hadiya’s husband Jahan nor in the High Court order.

On Monday, the lawyers for the NIA and Ashokan argued that there is material relating “to a pattern of indoctrination” and that the choice of the individual in question “should not be treated as absolute for guiding the jurisdictional spectrum of habeas corpus”. The court refused to accept this. It said it would hear Hadiya in person to determine her position. The court had said on October 9 that consent was the most important determinate factor in the case.

Despite the positive signals in Monday’s proceedings, the fact remains that Hadiya will continue to be under forcible confinement at her father’s home. The Supreme Court in its Monday order did not elaborate on why this should continue and extended the police protection given to Hadiya and her family till the next hearing.

Last week, Rahul Eswar, an activist in Kerala who met Hadiya at her father’s home, released a video of the conversation he had with her. In the edited video, Hadiya said her father was threatening her life. She claimed he was physically assaulting them.

She said:

“You have to get me out. I am sure I will be killed tomorrow or the day after. My father is getting angry, I know. When I walk, he is pushing me and kicking me. If my head or any body part hits somewhere and I die….” 

Eswar said he had not released the entire video because it could cause communal tensions. But whatever was released made one this crystal clear: Hadiya is not living in her father’s house voluntarily.

As a result, it is not clear why the Supreme Court has extended her stay in Ashokan’s home in Kotayam until November 27. Essentially, the court has allowed Hadiya’s liberty to be curtailed for another 28 days despite the fear that she could be put under undue pressure to take her father’s side.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Children's Day is not for children alone

It’s also a time for adults to revisit their childhood.

Most adults look at childhood wistfully, as a time when the biggest worry was a scraped knee, every adult was a source of chocolate and every fight lasted only till the next playtime. Since time immemorial, children seem to have nailed the art of being joyful, and adults can learn a thing or two about stress-free living from them. Now it’s that time of the year again when children are celebrated for...simply being children, and let it serve as a timely reminder for adults to board that imaginary time machine and revisit their childhood. If you’re unable to unbuckle yourself from your adult seat, here is some inspiration.

Start small, by doodling at the back page of your to-do diary as a throwback to that ancient school tradition. If you’re more confident, you could even start your own comic strip featuring people in your lives. You can caricaturise them or attribute them animal personalities for the sake of humour. Stuck in a boring meeting? Draw your boss with mouse ears or your coffee with radioactive powers. Just make sure you give your colleagues aliases.

Pull a prank, those not resulting in revenue losses of course. Prank calls, creeping up behind someone…pull them out from your memory and watch as everyone has a good laugh. Dress up a little quirky for work. It’s time you tried those colourful ties, or tastefully mismatched socks. Dress as your favourite cartoon characters someday – it’s as easy as choosing a ponytail-style, drawing a scar on your forehead or converting a bath towel into a cape. Even dinner can be full of childish fun. No, you don’t have to eat spinach if you don’t like it. Use the available cutlery and bust out your favourite tunes. Spoons and forks are good enough for any beat and for the rest, count on your voice to belt out any pitch. Better yet, stream the classic cartoons of your childhood instead of binge watching drama or news; they seem even funnier as an adult. If you prefer reading before bedtime, do a reread of your favourite childhood book(s). You’ll be surprised by their timeless wisdom.

A regular day has scope for childhood indulgences in every nook and cranny. While walking down a lane, challenge your friend to a non-stop game of hopscotch till the end of the tiled footpath. If you’re of a petite frame, insist on a ride in the trolley as you about picking items in the supermarket. Challenge your fellow gym goers and trainers to a hula hoop routine, and beat ‘em to it!

Children have an incredible ability to be completely immersed in the moment during play, and acting like one benefits adults too. Just count the moments of precious laughter you will have added to your day in the process. So, take time to indulge yourself and celebrate life with child-like abandon, as the video below shows.

Play

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of SBI Life and not by the Scroll editorial team.