Indoctrination Theories, Gender Lessons and Hadiya’s Silence: How the Love Jihad Hearing Unfolded in SC
The proceedings began around 3pm. Hadiya, dressed in a red abaya, stood calm and silent, waiting for her turn to speak. It turned out to be a long wait.
File photo of Hadiya, whose marriage to a Muslim man was annulled by the Kerala High Court last year.
New Delhi: Around 2.50 pm on Monday, Hadiya - the woman at the centre of the Love Jihad storm - entered a packed courtroom number 1 in the Supreme Court.
All eyes followed her as she gingerly walked to the front and stopped just a few metres away from where the three-judge bench of CJI Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud was sitting.
The proceedings began 10 minutes later. Hadiya, dressed in a red abaya, stood calm and silent, waiting for her turn to speak. It would be a long wait.
Her father Asokan’s lawyer, Shyam Diwan, started the arguments by pressing for an in camera hearing. His claims on the larger issue of indoctrination and “well -oiled machinery” behind conversions in Kerala were backed by Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, who was appearing for the National Investigative Agency.
Singh put forth a fresh petition, which said that NIA “findings could destroy the very basis of the marriage between Shafin and Hadiya” and said such indoctrination was “neuro-linguistic programming.”
Asokan’s lawyer wanted the court to consider the findings before speaking to 25-year-old Hadiya. This was vehemently opposed by Kapil Sibal, who was appearing for Hadiya’s husband Shefin Jahan.
“Instead of asking this adult woman what she wants, we are looking at the venom which has filled news channels and Facebook. My Lordship, only the views of the woman matter. Nothing else,” Sibal argued.
By then, close to 45 minutes had passed and Hadiya continued to stand as a mute spectator while the courtroom drama unfolded in front of her eyes.
Singh and Diwan countered Sibal and tried to punch holes into the marriage. They laid emphasis on larger issue of conversion in Kerala. Sibal, on the other hand, raised the question about personal autonomy of an individual.
The back and forth continued and another half hour passed. The NIA and Hadiya’s father pressed the bench to delay the hearing.
Justice Misra finally said the court would hear the matter on Tuesday. This elicited a protest from Sibal. “That’s not fair. The lady is here because you asked her to be here!”
A few minutes later, an upset Indira Jaising got up. “This is ridiculous and unfair. If this was a man standing here, things would have been different,” she said. Justice Misra interfered and said there was no question of gender issues and it was unnecessary for her to being this up.
The clock struck 4:30pm, signalling that just half an hour was left before the courts got closed for the day. Hadiya continued to remain silent.
Soon after Jaising’s statement, PV Dinesh, appearing for the Kerala Women’s Commission, said it was unfair for the court to keep a woman standing for hours and talk about her mental condition while that person stood in front of them.
Now, only 15 were left and Hadiya continued to stand silently, the same way she did when she walked in almost 2 hours ago.
Finally, Hadiya was called to share her side of the story.
“I want my freedom,” she said, when she finally got the chance.
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