NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday, while hearing the plea of Shafin Jahan from Kerala, stated in its preliminary view that a father cannot dictate the personal life of a 24-year-old daughter.
The apex court also said that it would examine the question as to whether the Kerala High Court can annul the marriage of a Muslim man with a Hindu woman, who had converted to Islam before tying the nuptial knot, by exercising its power under the writ jurisdiction.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that it will hear on October 9 the fresh plea of Jahan who is seeking recall of its earlier order by which the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was asked to probe whether there was a wider pattern of alleged 'love jihad' in the case.
"Pattern or no pattern, the question is, can the high court annul the marriage by exercising its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution," the bench which also comprises Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said.
Further, as per media reports, Justice Misra, while turning to counsel for the girl’s father, observed - "She is a 24-year-old woman" and they could not "have control over her.”
The apex court further said that either a loco parentis could be appointed or she could be sent her somewhere safe, as the "father cannot have 24-hour custody of her."
What is the case:
The Kerala HC had annulled the marriage terming it as an instance of 'love jihad', following which he had approached the apex court.
The top court had on August 16 directed the NIA to probe the incident under the supervision of retired apex court judge, Justice RV Raveendran.
Jahan has claimed in his plea that the Kerala human rights commission has received several complaints regarding the detention of the woman at her father's house.
He has also claimed that the woman has made it clear that she had accepted Islam on her own free will and after the May 24 order of the high court, she has been detained against her will and her rights have been violated.
Jahan, who had married a Hindu woman in last December, had moved the apex court after the Kerala HC annulled his marriage, saying it was an insult to the independence of women in the country.
The woman, a Hindu, had converted to Islam and later married Jahan. It was alleged that the woman was recruited by Islamic State's mission in Syria and Jahan was only a stooge.
Ashokan KM, the father of the woman, had alleged that there was a "well-oiled systematic mechanism" for conversion and Islamic radicalisation.
The HC, while declaring the marriage as "null and void", had described the case as an instance of 'love jihad' and ordered the state police to conduct probe into such cases.
(With PTI inputs)