In a new development in the Hadiya case, the apex court has restored her marriage with her husband Shafin Jahan. Through this order of the Supreme Court, it has cancelled the Kerala High Court’s nine-month-old order where it had annulled their marriage after listening to Hadiya’s parents.
The SC bench comprising CJI Deepak Misra, D.Y. Chandrachud and A. M. Khanwilkar said that the Kerala HC should not have annulled the marriage between Hadiya alias Akhila Asokan and Shafin Jahan by its order dated May 24, 2017 in a habeas corpus petition.
“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,” said the bench, PTI reported.
The SC said that during her personal appearance at the hearing last year, she had admitted to her marriage with Jahan and even appealed to the court to restore it.
"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 and added that NIA can continue its investigation”.
Earlier, the SC had asked the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to not interfere in this case. But it gives a green signal to the agency to probe other cases.
Hadiya’s father KM Asokan has decided to move a review petition in the Supreme Court against its judgement. He believes that his daughter’s marriage with Jahan is an ‘adjustment’ done by a group.
The apex court clarified that a court cannot interfere in the marriage of two consenting adults and cannot annul the marriage in a habeas corpus petition. It said Article 226 gives the extraordinary power to the high courts to protect the constitutional right not to scuttle it.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, who appeared for Jahan said that as a matter of law, no third-party can interfere in the marriage between two consenting adults which is a fundamental right.
"The jurisdiction of marriage is not in the marriage of consenting adults and no investigating agency can interfere in the marriage. Even the father of girl can't interfere,"
"The jurisdiction of marriage is not in the marriage of consenting adults and no investigating agency can interfere in the marriage. Even the father of girl can't interfere," Sibal argued.
However, Asokan’s advocate Shyam Divan defended the Kerala HC’s right to annul the marriage. He said that the HC has inherent jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution.
But Justice Chandrachud responded to him by saying, “There has to be some exceptional circumstances which warrant courts interference in the marriage like of a girl with a 65-year-old man, out of poverty or illiteracy, where there was no free consent or the marriage should not have taken at the first place”.
The bench protected the rights of Hadiya and Jahan—two consenting adults and their right to marriage.
To the NIA’s additional solicitor, Maninder Singh who said that the NIA has completed its investigation in the case and is looking for two individuals who have flown out of the country, the bench said, “You (NIA) can carry out the investigation with regard to the offences but you cannot touch the marriage. Investigate anything but marriage.”
Picture credit- The News Minute