New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the father of Hadiya, a 24-year-old Hindu woman from Kerala who converted to Islam, to present her in court on November 27 to ascertain her views on her marriage to a Muslim man, Shafin Jahan.
The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud also said that it would ascertain her views in the open court, as it did not accept that she be questioned by the judges in-camera.
As court ordered the presence of Hadiya on the next date of hearing on November 27, senior counsel Shyam Divan appearing for the father Asokan told the court that Hadiya’s every statement should not be taken as “absolute” as she has been indoctrinated.
Describing Shafin Jahan – whose marriage to Hadiya was nullified by the Kerala High Court before she was given in the custody of her father – as a pawn in the larger scheme of indoctrinating and recruiting of ISIS recruits, Divan said there are huge organisations that are operating, and named the Popular Front of India, a Kerala-based fundamentalist organisation.
Prior to examining the larger issue, the court said: “We will have the lady before us and ask her if she has consented voluntarily” to conversion and marriage.
The bench said this as Divan laboured to persuade the court that Hadiya’s marriage to Jahan was part of larger game being played by the Popular Front through its student and youth wings.
Invoking the principle of consistency, Divan urged the court not to interfere with the order asking NIA to investigate the case.
The court was hearing a plea by Shafin Jahan challenging the Kerala High Court order of May nullifying his marriage with Hadiya and seeking recall of the court order asking NIA to investigate the conversion of Hadiya to Islam and her marriage.
The NIA in its earlier report has pointed to a “pattern” involving conversion to Islam and marriages in Kerala.
Speaking to reporters in Kottayam after the court’s order, Asokan, the father of Hadiya, denied that his daughter was under house arrest and said he will produce her before the Supreme Court on November 27 as directed.
Asokan said: “It does not matter to me which faith my daughter decides to choose. She is not at all under house arrest. I myself have told her to go where she wants as there will be always police protection. But it’s her decision that she prefers not to go anywhere.”
Asokan added that at no cost would he accept Shafin Jahan.
Hadiya’s father had appealed for in-camera proceedings, but the Supreme Court declined his request.
The marriage was challenged in the High Court by Hadiya’s father, who also alleged that Jahan had links with terror group IS.