In Kerala a 24 year old Hindu woman has converted herself to Islam for the purpose of marriage appeared before the Supreme Court on monday to give her statement. The conversion decision of the Hindu woman has been an issue of debate for individual liberties, paternal authority and love jihad.
In December 2016, Akhila Ashokan converted herself to Hadiya to marry Shafin Jahan without her parent’s consent. After the marriage Hadiya aka Akhila’s father approached the High Court stating that her daughter’s religion has been converted forcefully, without her consent and that she has been trapped by the Shafin Jahan.
The Kerala HC held the marriage of Hadiya and Shafin as Sham and declared the marriage to be void. Shafin, husband of Hadiya aggrieved by the decision of the Kerala HC approached the supreme court and stated that the Hadiya is an adult person and her consent is of prime importance in this case.
Kapil Sibal, Advocate appearing for Shafin submitted before the court that the statement of Hadiya, who is present in the court should be heard and be given importance and not the probe report of her conversion by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). It was further submitted that Hadiya is completely entitled to take her own life decisions with free consent. The probe report submitted by the NIA was 100 page long.
On the issue whether the parents of Hadiya has an authority to override her decision, the union government said that situation in which the consent has been taken after intoxication or by way of manipulation then the paternal authority can be invoked.
The supreme court noted that the Hadiya’s consent in the matter is to be ascertained first before examining the issue of love jihad. The supreme court has however allowed Hadiya to complete her studies in homeopathy and has further allowed that she can meet her in the college campus where she is living in hostel. The decision about the validity of the marriage will be taken by the court in the next hearing.
While leaving to appear before the supreme court on saturday Hadiya has told media that she wants to stay with her husband and she has converted her religion with her free consent.
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