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Kerala 'Love Jihad' Case: NIA to Assess Ramifications on National Security

The Court noted it has asked the specialised agency to weigh in for a “neutral and unbiased assistance” in the matter and to get a view on investigation carried out by the Kerala police after the May order by the HC.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:August 10, 2017, 3:32 PM IST
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Kerala 'Love Jihad' Case: NIA to Assess Ramifications on National Security
Picture only for representational purpose.
New Delhi: Stating that it wants to “get the whole picture” for assessing the ramifications, the Supreme Court on Friday allowed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to access all records of investigation into a case where a marriage of a Hindu woman to a Muslim man after her conversion was annulled by the Kerala High Court as it amounted to ‘Love Jihad’.

A bench led by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar directed the Kerala DGP to share records of probe conducted so far with the NIA “so as to enable them be alive to the situation as present”.

The Court noted it has asked the specialised agency to weigh in for a “neutral and unbiased assistance” in the matter and to get a view on investigation carried out by the Kerala police after the May order by the HC.

“If there are issues going beyond the purview of Kerala, they should be able to assist us. Is this a small pocket individual issue or is it an issue that has wider ramifications that should concerns us? We want them to help us in this determination,” the bench told advocate Harris Beeran, who appeared for the Muslim husband.

As Beeran resisted the order to engage the NIA, the bench said that the impression gathered by his opposition was that the petitioner did not want the correct picture to come up.

“Why should you oppose sharing records with the NIA? We want them to be here. If NIA says there are no issues of national importance, we will deal with this as an individual case but let the entire picture come before this Court,” said the bench.

It further clarified that the bench was not ordering an investigation by the NIA at this moment and that a call on it would be taken only after hearing the lawyers for the husband.

“It is very unfair on your part to object to their seeing the records. If the NIA wants to say something after seeing the records, we will have to hear them because we want to get their view on entire ramifications. We want to come to right conclusion. We don’t want to be in grey areas,” said the bench.

The Court added that it could not pass orders after hearing only what the husband-petitioner had to say and then close its eyes.

The NIA had in the morning moved an application, saying it was open to investigate the case provided the top court issued a specific order. The bench then posted the matter for hearing at 2 pm today. The case will come up for hearing next on August 16.

On August 4, the bench, also comprising Justice D Y Chandrachud had termed the matter as “serious”  as it sought production of all documents related to the case within a week and asked the Kerala government to also respond.

“These are very sensitive issues...it is not at all that simple a case. It is a serious matter,” the bench had then observed.

Husband Shafin Jahan had moved the Supreme Court last month against the Kerala HC order, saying it was an insult to the independence of women in India. He had married a 25-year-old woman in December last year after she converted to Islam.

In May, this marriage was declared “null and void” by the HC, which described it as a case of ‘Love Jihad’. The court also ordered the Director General of Police (DGP) of the state to conduct “comprehensive” investigation into cases of ‘Love Jihad’ and have the incidents of forcible conversion probed thoroughly.

The HC emphasised “the existence of an organizational set up functioning behind the scenes” in such cases of ‘Love Jihad’ and conversions while noting the “national interest is at stake”. Allowing a plea filed by the woman’s father, the HC had flagged the role of extremist organisations behind influencing her and instilling radical thoughts as it handed over her custody to the parents again.

Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Indira Jaising appeared for the husband. Senior lawyer Shyam Divan represents the woman’s father.
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