SC questions annulment of inter-faith marriage

Shafin Jahan and Akhila Ashokan, whose marriage was invalidated by HC

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that it will examine whether a High Court can annul a marriage while hearing a plea by the parents of a girl who had married a boy from a different religion.

But in August 2016 itself, her father had approached high court with a habeas corpus petition, alleging his daughter had been radicalised by some organisations and they had also influenced her to marry a Muslim man so that she is out of the parents' custody forever.

The Court then proceeded to adjourn the case for October 9.

Shafeen has mentioned in his petition that Hadiya had submitted six affidavits at the Kerala HC stating that she converted to Islam on her own accord, and considering this the SC must order the police to produce Hadiya at the court.

"It was this court which asked us to probe the matter and we found a pattern (in such incidents of marriages in Kerala),"' he said adding he will convince the court.

Senior counsel Dushyant Dave, appearing for Shafin Jahan, strongly opposed the order directing NIA probe.

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After the probe was ordered, due to the HC's ruling Hadiya was under the custody of her father in Thiruvananthapuram.

The senior lawyer questioned the apex court order asking the NIA to probe saying that neither the father, nor the state and neither the NIA was in appeal against the high court order.

The Supreme Court today wondered if a high court could annul a marriage between two adults while hearing a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution. The bench said: "Either we will appoint loco parentis or we will send her somewhere safe".

In a fresh application for recall of this order, Shafin Jahan said that on August 17, 2017 activist Rahul Easwar visited the home of the girl's father, where Akhila has been detained.

The SC bench with CJI Dipak Misra also questioned an earlier SC order by Justice Khehar, for an NIA probe in the case.

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". It was alleged that the woman was recruited by the ISIS's mission in Syria and Jahan was only a stooge.

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