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Love Jihad or Voluntary Marriage: Supreme Court to Examine 'Sensitive' Case

Shafin Jahan had moved the Supreme Court last month after the Kerala HC annulled his marriage to a Hindu woman. He argued that the order was an insult to the independence of women in India.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:August 4, 2017, 4:38 PM IST
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Love Jihad or Voluntary Marriage: Supreme Court to Examine 'Sensitive' Case
The Supreme Court has set August 16 as the next date of hearing. (Photo: Reuters/Anindito Mukherjee)
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday termed as “serious” and “sensitive” a case where a Muslim man’s marriage to a Hindu woman was annulled by the Kerala High Court as it amounted to ‘Love Jihad.’

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud sought production of all documents related to the case within a week and asked the Kerala government to respond.

The National Investigation Agency, which has conducted investigations into some cases of 'Love Jihad,' wherein some women were allegedly being sent out to Syria to join ISIS, has also been asked to weigh in at the next hearing scheduled for August 16.

"These are very sensitive issues...it is not at all that simple a case. It is a serious matter," observed the bench. "You give us all the materials you have," the court told Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, who accepted a notice on behalf of the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Shafin Jahan had moved the Supreme Court last month after 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.

Arguing for the appeal against this order in the Supreme Court, senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Indira Jaising asked how the liberty of an adult woman could be curtailed in such a manner and she be kept in custody of her parents.

The lawyers also sought the production of the woman before the judges, who could interview her and then decide whether she was in fit state of mind to exercise her choices in life.

On the other hand, advocate Madhvi Divan, who represented the father, contended there was much more than what meets the eye in this case since the real protagonists are the extremist organisations, which are working behind the scene to influence innocent women and convert them forcibly.

While seeking probe into role of all such organisations, including Satya Sarini Charitable Trust where this woman was lodged, Divan said that she was willing to bring the woman before the judges only after the court goes through the material on record and examine the gravity of the problem.

The bench accepted Divan's argument and asked her to adduce all relevant records in the court within a week. It also recorded her undertaking that she would produce the woman in 24 hours if the bench wanted to interact with her.

As Sibal and Jaising insisted on her presence, the bench retorted: "Heavens will not fall down...she has been with her father since 24th of May after the High Court order. We will call her if there is a need."
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