The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld Hadiya's marriage to Shafin Jahan and set aside nine-month-old Kerala High Court's judgment annulling their marriage. However, the apex court directed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to continue its probe in respect to any criminality in the so-called Kerala 'love jihad' case.
"We clarify that the investigation by the NIA in respect of any matter of criminality may continue in accordance with law," the court said.
Following the Supreme Court's judgement, Hadiya's father K M Asokan said he would consider moving a review petition in the apex court against the setting aside of the Kerala High Court order annulling her marriage.
The apex court said that it arrived at the decision after speaking to Hadiya, who had said she had willingly entered into the marriage with Shafin, Bar & Bench tweeted. The court also ruled that the Kerala High Court should not have annulled Hadiya and Shafin Jahan's marriage.
On May 25 last year, a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court had in its judgment called Hadiya's marriage a "sham". The High Court had annulled the marriage and directed Hadiya to return to the custody of her parents.
Hadiya was known as Akhila Asokan before she converted.
Here are the top 10 developments in the Kerala 'love jihad' case and Hadiya's plight:
1) Hadiya's father may move review plea in SC: Hadiya's father K M Asokan on Thursday said that he would consider moving a review petition in the Supreme Court against its judgement that set aside a Kerala High Court order annulling her marriage with Shafin Jahan.
Further, he persisted that Hadiya's marriage with Jahan was an act of "adjustment" done by a group. "It was a kind of an adjustment marriage. There is no doubt. I will try to convince the court about it once again," he said.
However, Asokan expressed satisfaction over the apex court stating that the NIA could continue with its investigation into the 'love jihad' case. "The Supreme Court has not cancelled NIA investigation in the matter. The court took such a decision because... Shafin Jahan could be an extremist. Investigation is going on in the case," he said.
Further, he said that it was painful for him as a father to send Hadiya with an 'extremist'. "There is no words to explain it," Asokan said.
2) SC restores Hadiya's marriage: In a relief to Hadiya, an alleged victim of 'love jihad', the Supreme Court on Thursday set aside the nine-month-old Kerala High Court order annulling her marriage to Muslim man Shafin Jahan.
"We hold that the high court should not have annulled the marriage between appellant No.1, Shafin Jahan and respondent No.9, Hadiya alias Akhila Asokan, in a habeas corpus petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India," a bench also comprising justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said.
"In view of the aforesaid, the appeal stands allowed. The judgement and order passed by the high court is set aside. Respondent No.9, Hadiya alias Akhila Asokan is at liberty to pursue her future endeavours according to law," it said.
The apex court quashed the Kerala High Court judgment keeping in view Hadiya's statement during her personal appearance before the Supreme Court in November last year, reported Livelaw.in.
Bar & Bench reported that the Supreme Court said it arrived at its decision after speaking to Hadiya. She told the apex court that she had voluntarily entered into the marriage with Jahan.
The matter came to the fore when Jahan challenged the High Court order annulling his marriage with Hadiya and sending her to her parents' custody.
3) SC tells NIA to continue probe: The apex court on Thursday directed the NIA to continue its probe into the so-called Kerala 'love jihad' case. However, it told the investigative agency to do so without interfering in Hadiya's marriage.
A three-judge Bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, gave the ruling after NIA lawyer Maninder Singh told the Supreme Court that the agency's probe had almost been concluded.
4) Amnesty hails SC ruling on Hadiya marriage: Amnesty International on Thursday hailed SC's decision to restore the marriage of Hadiya Jahan to a Muslim man, describing it as "a fitting recognition" of women's rights on International Women's Day.
Amnesty International India's Programmes Director Asmita Basu said in a statement: "The Supreme Court's order restoring Hadiya's marriage is a fitting recognition - on International Women's Day - of the right of every adult woman to choose her religion and partner. This decision was long overdue, and it is a victory for Hadiya Jahan's courage and perseverance."
"By setting aside the Kerala High Court's decision that described the marriage as a 'sham', the order also marks an important course correction. It must now spur state governments into doing more to bring to justice people who harass and attack Hindu-Muslim couples," Basu added.
5) SC says HC could not have annulled marriage: The Supreme Court also held that under article 226 the Kerala High Court could not have annulled the marriage, Livelaw.in reported. On November 27, 2017, the Supreme Court had set Hadiya free from her parents' custody. The apex court had sent her to college to pursue her studies, even as she pleaded that she be allowed to go with her husband.
6) Hadiya's father claims he saved her from sexual slavery: His efforts prevented his daughter from being taken to "extremist-controlled territories" of Syria to be exploited as a "sex slave or a human bomb", Hadiya's father had claimed before the Supreme Court.
According to agency reports, in a fresh affidavit, K M Asokan said that his daughter was a "vulnerable adult" and she "abjectly surrendered herself to complete strangers who adopted her into their fold, offering her shelter and protection and further imparted religious indoctrination in an isolated environment".
Asokan was responding to an affidavit filed by Hadiya. Earlier, Hadiya had told the Supreme Court that she had willingly converted to Islam and wanted to remain a Muslim.
ALSO READ: Hadiya is an adult; her choice of husband not under probe: SC to NIA
7) NIA denies treating Hadiya like a terrorist: Appearing before the Supreme Court, the NIA on Wednesday denied Hadiya's allegation that the investigative agency was behaving with her with prejudice and treating her as if she was a criminal or a terrorist.
In an affidavit filed in the apex court, the NIA said that it had conducted its investigation into the so-called 'love jihad' case in a "fair, objective and impartial manner" based upon the evidence and material collected so far.
Denying Hadiya's allegations that she was misled to portray her husband as a terrorist and that she was treated like a criminal, the NIA said that her allegations were "misconceived, entirely baseless, incorrect".
8) SC 'worried' over Kerala HC annulling Hadiya's marriage: The Supreme Court on February 22, 2018, rejected the argument that Hadiya was "vulnerable" to being recruited by the Islamic State. The apex court said that the government could stop people from going abroad for illegal activity but stressed its "worry" over the Kerala High Court annulling Hadiya's marriage.
"Can we say that the marriage is not in the best interests of a marrying couple? Whether it is right or wrong, or she (Hadiya) did not marry a right person, it is for the consenting individuals to decide. We can't stand in the (their) way," said Justice D Y Chandrachud as senior counsel Shyam Divan justified the Kerala High Court annulling Hadiya's marriage.
The Bench of Chief Justices Dipak Misra, A M Khanwilkar, and D Y Chandrachud reiterated the position that marriage between two consenting adults could not be nullified in a habeas corpus petition, by exercising its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution. The Bench said that there was a roving inquiry by the Kerala High Court into Hadiya's marriage.
"What troubles us is (that)... can there be a roving inquiry into a marriage between two consenting adults," asked Chief Justice Misra.
9) Hadiya told SC she wanted to remain Muslim and be with her husband: Hadiya told the Supreme Court on February 21, 2018, that she had willingly converted to Islam and wanted to remain a Muslim. In her affidavit filed before the apex court, Hadiya also said that she had married Jahan on her own and sought the apex court's permission to "live as his wife".
Further, she had claimed that the NIA had wrongly portrayed her husband as a terrorist and that he had nothing to do with the Islamic State.
10) NIA to probe into any criminality in Hadiya's marriage: The Supreme Court on January 23, 2018, permitted the NIA to continue its probe into any criminality in Hadiya's marriage. Observing that the probe into the criminal aspect had to be segregated from the marriage, the Supreme Court Bench had said "...otherwise we will be creating a bad precedent in law".
"We can't go into the marriage. Whether the person she is married to is good human being or a bad human...," the Bench had observed.