The Supreme Court today ordered the Kerala Police to share with the NIA the probe details of a case described by the high court there as an instance of "love jihad" involving a Muslim man's marriage to a Hindu woman converted to Islam.
The top court said it was entrusting the task to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) as a neutral agency to get a "whole picture" and ascertain whether the particular instance was limited to a "small pocket" or was there "something wider" to the issue.
A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud took a serious note of the objection raised by the counsel for Kerala-native Shafin Jahan that the NIA should not be allowed to peruse the investigation records of the police in the case.
The court said that it felt that "the petitioner (Jahan) does not desire the correct and independent view of the controversy" be brought before it.
"The Kerala Police is directed to render all assistance and cooperation to the NIA," the bench said, noting that a copy of its order be given to the state police.
The NIA, represented by Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, moved the apex court in the forenoon seeking an order that it be allowed to access the records of the investigation carried so far by the state police.
The court issued notice to Jahan and others including the state police on the NIA plea and fixed it for hearing at 2 pm.
The bench, which allowed Jahan to file his response to the NIA's plea, said that the central probe agency would not be able to assist the police in a fair manner if it was not allowed access to the probe records.
"We want the whole picture. Why should anybody be doubting the NIA? Are you doubting the NIA? We have no objection if the records are shown to the NIA," the bench said when Jahan's counsel objected to the plea.
It said, "We are not going by the catch word (love jihad) used in social media" and rather wanted to ascertain whether it was a "small pocket incident" or there was something more to it.
"Why should you doubt the NIA? We have not asked it to investigate. We have asked it to look at the records and assist us... You (Jahan) want the order without anybody looking at the records. This is not fair. This is a government agency and we asked it to help us," the court said.
Jahan, who had married a Hindu woman in last December, had moved the apex court after the Kerala High Court annulled his marriage, saying that 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.
Earlier, the apex court had sought a response of the NIA and the Kerala government on the plea of Jahan
Ashokan K M, the father of the woman, had alleged that there was a "well-oiled systematic mechanism" for conversion and Islamic radicalisation.
The bench had asked him to ensure the presence of his daughter if it arrived at the conclusion that her appearance was needed to ascertain the facts of the case.
The NIA has recently conducted probe into some cases of 'love jihad' in which women were allegedly being sent to Syria to join ISIS.
The high court, 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.
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