Kerala 'love jihad' case: NIA can't decide on legitimacy of Hadiya's marriage, says SC

The Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that the National Investigative Agency cannot have a bearing in deciding the aspects of the legitimacy of Hadiya and Shafin Jahan's marriage in controversial Kerala 'love jihad' case. 

Kerala 'love jihad' case: NIA can't decide on legitimacy of Hadiya's marriage, says SC

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that the National Investigative Agency cannot have a bearing in deciding the aspects of the legitimacy of Hadiya and Shafin Jahan's marriage in alleged Kerala 'love jihad' case. 

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra observed that the NIA cannot go into marital status of Hadiya after saying that she is an adult.

A Raghunath, one of the counsels of Hadiya's father had said: "We expect the NIA to file a report and the court to permit the girl to continue her studies. We are happy that she is safe. Let's see what happens."

The apex court, however, said the NIA could continue with its probe into the controversial case after the investigating agency said that it had made substantial progress in the case.

"We are not concerned with it (probe). Whether you carry on your investigation or arrest someone, we are not concerned. You can investigate it but you cannot investigate about their marital status," the bench also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said.

The top court also said that the Kerala-based woman Hadiya, alleged to be a victim of love jihad, had appeared before it and had specifically said she had married Shafin Jahan on her own.

The bench observed that it would examine whether the Kerala High Court was correct in annulling the marriage while hearing a Habeas Corpus petition.

"We are only concerned with the choice of an adult to marry someone," the bench said and posted the matter for hearing on February 22.

On November 27, last year, the apex court freed Hadiya from her parents' custody and sent her to college to pursue her studies, even as she pleaded to be allowed to go with her husband.

The court took the decision after interacting with the 25-year-old woman, a Hindu by birth who had converted to Islam and married Jahan.

The court was hearing a plea filed by Jahan challenging the Kerala High Court's order annulling his marriage with Hadiya.

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