#LoveJihad: NIA can't probe Hadiya's marriage, says Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has ruled the National Investigation Agency (NIA) cannot examine the marital status of Hadiya, whose marriage to Shafin Jahan became infamous as the Kerala "love jihad" case. "We cannot go into the marriage, whether the person she married is a good or bad human being," it said, adding the NIA can investigate "all other aspects." The next hearing is on February 22.
Shafin and Hadiya (formerly Akhila) say they met in August'16 on a matrimonial website and married in December'16. The case made headlines when Hadiya's father approached the Kerala HC claiming Shafin had terrorist connections. The court annulled their marriage. Then Shafin challenged its decision in the SC. In August last year, the SC asked the NIA to probe the case.
The NIA said it had found a pattern of indoctrination in almost 90 such cases from Kerala. It told of a systematic network involved in targeting and radicalizing youths. Some common people were linked to many such cases. Later, Shafin moved the SC against an NIA probe. Despite orders, the investigation wasn't being supervised by a retired judge, he alleged.
However, along with probing Shafin's alleged terrorist connections, the NIA also probed their marriage, claiming they hadn't actually met on a matrimonial website as they claimed. Both were unpaid members on www.waytonikah.com, and their contact information couldn't be viewed publicly, the agency said. In fact, the first time they visited each other's profiles was December 31, by when they were already married.
Amid all this, Hadiya has maintained she married Shafin and converted to Islam of her own will. She alleged she had endured "mental harassment and unlawful custody (with her family) for 11 months". "I am a Muslim and I want justice," she had said.
Taking cognizance, the SC said, "How can we say marriage is not valid when she says she married? She can choose independently. She is 24-years-old." "Marriage has to be separate from criminal activity, otherwise we will be creating a bad precedent in law." It added the NIA probe will have no bearing in deciding on the legitimacy of their marriage.