NIA can’t probe marital status, says Supreme Court in Kerala’s Love Jihad case

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to stay away from interfering into Hadiya’s choice to marry Shafin Jahan.”The court cannot question her choice,” said the Chief Justice Dipak Misra .”Marriage has to be seperate from criminal activity, otherwise we will be creating a bad precedent in law”, remarks Supreme Court .

“You can investigate any of the aspects, but you cannot investigate the marital aspect… you cannot investigate whether she married a good person or a bad person. That’s her choice,” Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra observed.“Again, whether she made a good choice or bad choice in a husband, only she knows. Court cannot question her choice,” the Chief Justice observed.

The NIA had argued in the Supreme Court that she was indoctrinated, radicalised and brainwashed. The marriage was a device to entrap her. Both NIA and Hadiya’s father, Asokan K.M., claimed Jahan was a recruiter for radical groups.The SC responded that the NIA can continue to probe the ‘love jihad’ angle but cannot question Hadiya’s choice and marital status as she is an adult .”We make it clear that we are concerned about ongoing probe of NIA into ‘love jihad’ cases and the only issue before us is legitimacy of the marriage which cannot be challenged by third party,” said the SC.

The bench also 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 22 February.Supreme Court observes it cannot go into marital status of Hadiya; “How can we say marriage is not valid when she says she married….she can choose independently. She is 24 years old”.

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