In a major win for Hadiya and her husband Shafin Jahan, the Supreme Court, on Thursday, set aside the May 2017 Kerala High Court order annulling their marriage. The SC has consistently in the last few hearings maintained that Hadiya, a 26-year-old, has the right to make her own choice. Being consistent with their stand, the SC has struck down the Kerala HC’s draconian order.
The SC also observed that the HC should not have annulled the marriage in a habeas corpus petition. However, according to initial reports, the probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) will continue into the accusations of ‘love jihad’, but not of this particular marriage.
The SC said that its decision is based on Hadiya’s statement that she converted to Islam out of her own free will. It asked how can the HC annul a marriage between two consenting adults under Article 226 of the Constitution.
The SC read out the operative part of the judgement a little after 2pm, after hearing the case in the first part of the day.
The Bench was headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, DY Chandrachud and AM Khanwilkar.
During the hearing, the SC bench reiterated that the court cannot intervene in the case of a marriage between two consenting adults. The court also told the NIA that it can carry on the investigation, but it shouldn’t probe into the marriage. The SC also said Hadiya is free to pursue her future endeavours as per law.
“Marriage, plurality and individual choices should be zealously guarded from State intervention,” the bench reportedly said.
The bench also said that however good or bad a marriage is, the HC cannot annul a marriage, saying that “the state cannot be allowed to enter into the marriage whether it approves of it or not.”