Three applications have been filed before the Supreme Court demanding the Applicants’ impleadment as respondents in the Hadiya case and seeking an investigation by the National Investigation Agency into incidents of alleged ‘Love Jihad’.
One of the applications has been filed by Ms. Bindu Sampath, whose daughter Nimisha had allegedly converted to Islam, married a Muslim and went missing in 2016 to join the ISIS.
Claiming that this was, in fact, a part of a “well orchestrated and well oiled scheme”, the Petition submits, “It is submitted that the Applicant has also been following media reports of similar cases from India and various other countries where young and vulnerable girls are identified and trapped by coercion or fraud marriages, indoctrinated and used for the purpose of propagating terrorist and anti-national activities of Jihad. The Applicant is also praying that most of these girls and their families are not in a position to seek Redressal or approach the authorities or justice delivery system, therefore, this Hon’ble Court may also direct NIA investigation into the specific cases mentioned in the media reports also.”
Ms. Sampath alleges the involvement of “antinational organizations” behind such “brain washes and forced conversions”. She further claims that most number of people joining the ISIS from the country hail from Kerala and hence, “it is an imperative now that our national security agencies like the NIA, IB etc are tasked at the earliest to investigate these incidents, identify culprits, draw out trends and address the issue quickly before any serious damage occurs.”
Another application has been filed by one Ms. Sumati Arya from Maharashtra, who was allegedly forced to be converted to Islam by her father and her husband. She claims to have “firsthand knowledge and experience of the techniques” used for such conversions and submits, “All of these need to be properly investigated as they are all following a common pattern and modus operandi - where a heartless strategy of luring vulnerable girls to convert to Islam by feigned love and promises of marriage.”
A third application has been filed by three Advocates -- Ms. Sheela Devi, Ms. Keerthi Solomon and Mr. Vishnu Jayapalan -- intending to bring to the notice of the Court “the circumstances in which the impugned Judgement was passed and also what happened after passing of the impugned Judgment”.
They submit that after the judgment was rendered by the High Court, “a tense atmosphere of violence was created in the state by certain groups including organizations called the Social Democratic Party of India and Muslim Ekopana Samiti.”
Their application reemphasizes on the submission that Hadiya’s case is not an isolated incident and that “there are strong, organized forces behind those who are now claiming to be aggrieved by the impugned Judgement”.
The application, thereafter, submits, “There is a concerted effort to threaten and dissuade Judiciary in the State from giving justice to persons like the 1st Respondent. Lawyers who are involved in such cases feel insecure. The state police has failed to properly investigate the matter. This is a fit case for an investigation by the National Investigation Agency.”
Incidentally, the Kerala government filed a counter affidavit before the Apex Court, rejecting theories of Love Jihad and organized conversion, and calling the order directing NIA probe into the incident unwarranted.
The story so far
The case concerns Hadiya’s conversion to Islam, and her subsequent marriage to a Muslim man Shafin Jahan. In a judgment rendered on 25 May this year, a Division Bench of Kerala High Court had called her marriage a “sham”, and had annulled it, directing her return to the protective custody of her Hindu parents.
The Bench comprising Justice Surendra Mohan and Justice Abraham Mathew had made some controversial observations like: “a girl aged 24 years is weak and vulnerable, capable of being exploited in many ways” and “her marriage being the most important decision in her life, can also be taken only with the active involvement of her parents”.
Hadiya’s husband had then filed a Special Leave Petition before the Supreme Court, challenging this decision. He had contended that the marriage was annulled without any legal basis, and had submitted, “…the impugned order is an insult to the independence of women of India as it completely takes away their right to think for themselves and brands them as persons who are weak and unable to think and make decisions for themselves. That the same is against their fundamental rights and should be struck down”.
A Bench comprising Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud had thereafter directed the NIA and the Kerala Government to submit all documents related to the case. It had also directed Hadiya’s father Asokan to submit proof of his claim that Hadiya was converted after being radicalized.
Hadiya’s husband, however, recently approached the Apex Court, seeking recall of the order directing NIA probe into the matter. He had filed an application contending that “certain facts have emerged which call for a reconsideration” of the order.
During the last hearing the Hadiya case took an altogether new twist with the Supreme making it clear that a 24 year old girl, an adult, cannot be held hostage by her father against her wishes and the CJI Dipak Misra led bench categorically stating it will examine if a High Court under Article 226 can quash a marriage.
The Supreme Court will consider the case tomorrow