Hadiya Case Adjourned to 8 March, SC Questions Marriage Annulment
The Supreme Court was unimpressed by Hadiya’ father’s argument that she was a “vulnerable adult”.
The Supreme Court was unimpressed by Hadiya’ father’s argument that she was a “vulnerable adult”.(Photo: The Quint)

Hadiya Case Adjourned to 8 March, SC Questions Marriage Annulment

The Supreme Court, on 22 February, adjourned the Hadiya case to 8 March, giving time for the NIA and her father to respond to Hadiya’s affidavit which was submitted to the Court on 21 February.

In her affidavit, Hadiya, who was finally impleaded as a party to the case at the last hearing in January, stated:

“I embraced the faith/religion of Islam on my choice as per my conscience and on my own free will after studying about Islam and thereafter I married a person, namely Shafin Jahan, the Petitioner herein, from the same faith as per my choice and on my own free will.”

Also Read : I'm Muslim, want to live with husband, Hadiya tells SC

She denounced the allegations against her, that she is mentally unsound and has developed connections with terrorists. She hinted that her father may have been influenced to take this stance against her. She also revealed that she was under surveillance despite being back at college and asked that her “entire liberty” be restored.

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Also Read : Supreme Court Finally Acknowledges Hadiya’s Autonomy

Court Not Impressed With Father’s Vulnerability Argument

Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, who is heading the bench hearing the case, reiterated that the issue before the Supreme Court was about whether or not courts can annul a marriage between two consenting adults. The bench asked:

“Can the High Court nullify a marriage between two consenting adults?”

Also Read : Why YOU Should Be Furious About the Courts’ Treatment of Hadiya 

Shyam Divan, representing Hadiya’s father Asokan, argued that the court should consider the NIA report and investigation into ‘love jihad’ in Kerala, and the way in which girls were being radicalised and then married off. He claimed that the Kerala High Court had been right to annul Hadiya’s marriage even though she was an adult, because she was vulnerable, and the courts can exercise parens patriae jurisdiction in such cases.

Also Read : ‘It Was Emotional’: Shafin Jahan Meets Hadiya at Her Salem College

The CJI was not taken with this argument, however, noting that ‘vulnerability’ was subjective and that the law cannot be based on such a concept. Despite this, he did not stay the Kerala High Court’s annulment of the marriage.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Hadiya and Shafin, also stated that Hadiya’s father was making false statements to the Court. Asokan claims Hadiya had said during a telephone conversation that after her conversion to Islam, she would move to Syria to rear sheep. Sibal argued that she had never said anything of the sort, and that it was Asokan who had mentioned this in a conversation at some point.

Also Read : The Supreme Court Has Failed Hadiya – And Maybe The Rest of Us Too

(The Quint, in association with BitGiving, has launched a crowdfunding campaign for an 8-month-old who was raped in Delhi on 28 January 2018. The baby girl, who we will refer to as 'Chhutki', was allegedly raped by her 28-year-old cousin when her parents were away. She has been discharged from AIIMS hospital after undergoing three surgeries, but needs more medical treatment in order to heal completely. Her parents hail from a low-income group and have stopped going to work so that they can take care of the baby. You can help cover Chhutki's medical expenses and secure her future. Every little bit counts. Click here to donate.)

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