The Daily Fix

The Daily Fix: Hadiya case may reveal how keenly our courts believe in the free will of women

Everything you need to know for the day (and a little more).

The Big Story: About Hadiya

On November 27, more than three months after it ordered the National Investigation Agency to inquire into her case, the Supreme Court will hear out Hadiya Shafin, who was earlier known as Akhila Ashokan. The 25-year-old homoeopathic trainee has been in the centre of a media storm since she converted to Islam and married a Muslim man. Both decisions were contested by her father, KM Ashokan, who claims she was forced into them. Ahead of the hearing, Ashokan has told the press that his daughter “does not have an independent mind” as she has been “mentally kidnapped”, so no heed should be paid what she says. The question that hangs in the balance today is this: how much free will do our courts ascribe to women?

Through the course of the Hadiya case so far, the judiciary has largely failed to recognise her choices as her own. The Kerala High Court aligned with her father as it kept her confined to a women’s hostel under surveillance, annulled her marriage to Shafin Jahan and bundled her off to her parents’ house, without actually asking Hadiya whether she had been coerced into the marriage. When Hadiya was not the wayward girl who needed to be policed back into order under the watchful eye of her parents and the court, her choices fit into a more sinister script.

Her conversion and marriage were seen as a deliberate strategy by extremist groups, a prelude to whisking her off to the battlefields of Syria or Afghanistan. She was the victim of love jihad, a campaign that right-wing groups claim is being waged by Muslim men lure away Hindu women. It was coercion, it was obstinacy, it was indoctrination, subterfuge and a terror plot, it was anything but an adult woman deciding to adopt a new faith and marrying the man of her choice. As Deepak Misra took over as the new chief justice of India, the Supreme Court’s position changed, and it questioned the annulment of Haidya’s marriage as well as the National Investigation Agency inquiry. In an October ruling, it also resolved to hear Hadiya herself, placing her consent at the centre of the case. This was a welcome development, but the court still allowed her forced confinement at her parents’ house to continue.

As for Hadiya herself, her voice is only heard in snatches through videos and TV footage, ranging from defiance to fear to a declaration of her free will. In August, a day after the Supreme Court ordered the National Investigation Agency inquiry, a local activist was interviewing her mother when Hadiya burst into the scene, demanding “is keeping me like this enough?” In October, the same activist released a video of her pleading to be rescued from her parents’ house, claiming her father could kill her. This weekend, she left her parents’ house for the first time in four months, accompanied by them. At the airport, she spoke directly to the television cameras, above the scrum of security and despite the restraining hands of her chaperones. She said she had not been forced to convert and wanted to be with her husband. Will the courts believe her?

The Big Scroll

Shoaib Daniyal and Sruthisagar Yamunan dissect the love jihad bogey.

TA Ameerudheen on the case that has roiled Kerala.


  1. In the Indian Express, Faizan Mustafa agrees with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath: Indian secularism is a lie.
  2. In the Hindu, Soumya Swaminathan and Lalit Dandona argue that the findings of the India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative will pave the way for decentralised health planning.
  3. In Livemint, Natasha Agarwal writes that it makes no sense to pursue coal over renewable sources of energy into the 2020s.


Don’t miss...

Ajaz Ashraf interviews political activist JS Bandukwala:

“How come Muslims have not produced a leader like Hardik Patel or Jignesh Mevani?
This is deliberate. Modi’s politics operates on targeting Muslims to unite Hindus. That is why we have gone out of our way to ensure no Muslim leader comes out. I, anyway, have always been saying that our focus is education and the social transformation of the community. We are not interested in political power.” 

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Why should inclusion matter to companies?

It's not just about goodwill - inclusivity is a good business decision.

To reach a 50-50 workplace scenario, policies on diversity need to be paired with a culture of inclusiveness. While diversity brings equal representation in meetings, board rooms, promotions and recruitment, inclusivity helps give voice to the people who might otherwise be marginalized or excluded. Inclusion at workplace can be seen in an environment that values diverse opinions, encourages collaboration and invites people to share their ideas and perspectives. As Verna Myers, a renowned diversity advocate, puts it “Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance.”

Creating a sense of belonging for everyone is essential for a company’s success. Let’s look at some of the real benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace:

Better decision making

A whitepaper by Cloverpop, a decision making tool, established a direct link between inclusive decision making and better business performance. The research discovered that teams that followed an inclusive decision-making process made decisions 2X faster with half the meetings and delivered 60% better results. As per Harvard Business School Professor Francesca Gino, this report highlights how diversity and inclusion are practical tools to improve decision making in companies. According to her, changing the composition of decision making teams to include different perspectives can help individuals overcome biases that affect their decisions.

Higher job satisfaction

Employee satisfaction is connected to a workplace environment that values individual ideas and creates a sense of belonging for everyone. A research by Accenture identified 40 factors that influence advancement in the workplace. An empowering work environment where employees have the freedom to be creative, innovative and themselves at work, was identified as a key driver in improving employee advancement to senior levels.


A research by stated the in India, 62% of innovation is driven by employee perceptions of inclusion. The study included responses from 1,500 employees from Australia, China, Germany, India, Mexico and the United States and showed that employees who feel included are more likely to go above and beyond the call of duty, suggest new and innovative ways of getting work done.

Competitive Advantage

Shirley Engelmeier, author of ‘Inclusion: The New Competitive Business Advantage’, in her interview with Forbes, talks about the new global business normal. She points out that the rapidly changing customer base with different tastes and preferences need to feel represented by brands. An inclusive environment will future-proof the organisation to cater to the new global consumer language and give it a competitive edge.

An inclusive workplace ensures that no individual is disregarded because of their gender, race, disability, age or other social and cultural factors. Accenture has been a leading voice in advocating equal workplace. Having won several accolades including a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate equality index, Accenture has demonstrated inclusive and diverse practices not only within its organisation but also in business relationships through their Supplier Inclusion and Diversity program.

In a video titled ‘She rises’, Accenture captures the importance of implementing diverse policies and creating an inclusive workplace culture.


To know more about inclusion and diversity, see here.

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