Kerala's Shafin-Hadia marriage: SC to examine whether HC can annul 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.

"Pattern or no pattern, the question is, can the high court annul the marriage by exercising its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution", the bench said. It also wondered if a 24-year-old girl can be kept in her father's custody after the HC's order on May 25.

The bench was hearing a plea filed by Hadiya's husband, Shafin Jahan in which he has challenged the Kerala High Court's order that nullified his marriage.

Giving time to the NIA to respond to Jahan's application, the Supreme Court fixed October 9 for hearing the matter.

He pointed out that two senior Muslim BJP functionaries had married Hindus and asked will it be called love jihad and would the court order investigation against them?

According to sources, Hadiya, who was known as Akhila before conversion, is holed up at her house near Kottayam, forcibly by her parents.

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

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Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta, who appeared in the court in place of ASG Maninder Singh representing the NIA.said all the objections being raised now by Dave had already been raised by senior counsel Kapil Sibal who had represented Jahan earlier and the same were considered by the court before ordering the NIA investigation.

"An NIA probe into Hadiya's marriage strikes at the very foundation of a multi-religious society", said Dave. "The state did not file an appeal and father also did not do so", he contended.

Earlier in August, the NIA began investigation into the case following the top court's orders.

As per TV reports, CJI Dipak Misra questioned how the SC (under Justice Khehar) had asked for a NIA (National Investigating Agency) probe in the case.

The petitioner had initially moved the court in August against the High Court order.

It was alleged that the woman was recruited by Islamic State's mission in Syria and Jahan was only a stooge. "This order sends awful signals all over the world", he said.

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