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Kerala ‘love jihad’ case heats up in SC

Hadiya’s husband Jahan has challenged the Kerala high court’s May 24 order annulling their marriage, which took place in December last year

india Updated: Oct 10, 2017 22:11 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Kerala love jihad,Supreme Court,Kerala inter religious marriage
A view of Supreme court in New Delhi.(Sonu Mehta/HT File Photo)

Heated exchange of arguments between Supreme Court lawyers in what is now called the ‘love jihad case’ in the Supreme Court prompted the Chief Justice’s bench to adjourn the hearing on Monday.

Chief Justice Dipak Misra, justices DY Chandrachud and AM Khanwilkar took strong exception to the “tone and tenor” of arguments forwarded by senior advocate Dushyant Dave who, on behalf of Kerala resident Shafin Jahan, alleged the Centre was using his marriage with a Hindu girl who converted to Islam to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere.

“Your tone and manner of submissions are…(unclear). You have actually bulldozed your case,” the CJI responded when Dave took names of senior BJP leaders to profess the party was communalising the issue.

“You don’t have to take names of political persons or institution. Keep the legislature and executive outside,” Justice Chandrachud told Dave when he kept taking names of BJP leaders.

“We don’t want to hear submissions unrelated to the case. Please restrict your arguments to the lis (suit) in question,” remarked the CJI.

Before the judges intervened, additional solicitor general Maninder Singh shot back at Dave for his “obnoxious” statements. He told the bench that the high court had relied upon five other decisions before arriving at its own decision to annul the marriage.

Dave also asked the bench to “let Jahan and Hadiya celebrate Diwali together,” a plea the court refused. It will next hear the case on October 30.

The bench, however, did assert that a 24-year-old woman (Hadiya, in this case) has the right to take decisions for herself and her father cannot interfere with those. “Basic principle is when a person who is mentally sound takes a decision, then it has to be respected. The father cannot say ‘I must have her in my custody because she is my daughter.”

Hadiya’s husband Jahan has challenged the Kerala high court’s May 24 order annulling their marriage, which took place in December last year. The order came on a plea by the woman’s father, Ashokan. The HC set aside the marriage on the ground that the woman was “brainwashed and radicalised by elements linked to extremists”.

A bench headed by then CJI JS Khehar had in April ordered an NIA probe after the woman’s father submitted there exists a “well-oiled mechanism” in Kerala through which girls are brainwashed into joining Islamic State.

First Published: Oct 10, 2017 22:08 IST