FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Justice for Hadiya
Updated:Aug 18, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
The Supreme Court has ordered an investigation by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) into a possible “conspiracy” which involves Hindu women in Kerala being converted to Islam. That an anti-terrorism investigative agency has been tasked with ascertaining the veracity of religious conversions is problematic enough. That this order comes in a case where the Kerala High Court has questioned a 24-year-old adult woman’s autonomy and freedom to choose the course of her life is doubly disquieting.
 
 
In May this year, the Kerala High Court annulled the marriage between Shafi Jehan and Hadiya, who was known as Akhila before she chose to convert to Islam. In doing so, it argued that a woman’s “marriage being the most important decision in her life, [it] can also be taken only with the active involvement of her parents” — a judgement that enforces the widespread patriarchal understanding of women being the forever wards and property of their parents.
 
 
Hadiya’s father had argued that his daughter had come under the influence of radical Islamists, while she has told the court that she converted to Islam of her own volition. More disturbingly, while declaring the marriage as a “sham”, the high court suggested that Jehan had links with the Islamic State extremists on the basis of the WhatsApp groups he had been a part of — a police investigation had not found any criminal element in Hadiya’s conversion or marriage.
 
 
When Jehan moved the SC, he was asking it to adjudicate on the wisdom of the HC judgment. The court, instead, chose to bring in the NIA to probe whether there is a larger, dubious pattern in conversions of Hindu women to Islam. Why was it moved to do so remains unclear, and invites suspicions of judicial overreach. And what of Hadiya? Has she had a chance to argue her case? Since the May order of the high court, she has been under house arrest in her parents’ home, forbidden to meet her husband or anyone else. Neither has the SC intervened to free her of this illegal incarceration, nor has it bothered to listened to her account of the case.
 
 
There have been countless cases in this country’s history when the courts have stood up for the freedom of the individual against the diktat of the community, family or state. By choosing to prioritise shadowy fears of “love jihad” over a flesh-and-blood individual’s rights, the court has gone against its own grain. It runs the risk of feeding into a communal narrative, which is growing in strength.
 
 
It has set a dangerous precedent that can surely be used to curb the agency and autonomy of Indian women. The Kerala HC, in its order, had said that “we are not satisfied that it is safe to let Akhila [be] free to decide what she wants in her life.” The Supreme Court must reinstate the freedom of this Indian citizen.
 
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assumed office again in Bangladesh in 2009, bilateral relations between New Delhi and Dhaka have been on a steady upward trajectory.
 
read-more
A top Chinese Army official on Sunday said negotiations with the Indian Army paved the way for the resolution of the Doklam stand-off on the India-China border.
 
read-more
A unique and passionate gathering of acrophiles, or mountain lovers, took place in neat and picturesque Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram state in north-eastern India in September.
 
read-more
India’s foreign policy under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has attained a level of maturity which allows it to assert itself in an effective manner. This is aimed at protecting the country’s national interests in a sustained way.
 
read-more
As about-turns in the three-year-old BJP government go, this must be among the shortest and most important tweets issued by any BJP leader. And although Prime Minister Modi spent Diwali with soldiers in Gurez less than a week ago, it was left to Home minister Rajnath Singh to announce a major policy shift on Jammu & Kashmir at 4 pm
 
read-more
  In his report at the opening of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping redefined the principal contradiction facing Chinese society in the new era, namely between unbalanced, inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life. Providing this better life has become
 
read-more
As political roller coasters go, there is none as steep and unpredictable as the one shared by the United States and Iran.
 
read-more
In snap polls in Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party-led coalition has secured a two-thirds majority in the lower house of parliament.
 
read-more
On “Defining Our Relationship with India for the Next Century”
 
read-more
Column-image

Title: The People Next Door -The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations; Author: T.C.A. Raghavan; Publisher: HarperCollins ; Pages: 361; Price: Rs 699

 
Column-image

Could the North Korean nuclear issue which is giving the world an anxious time due to presence of hotheads on each side, the invasion of Iraq and its toxic fallout, and above all, the arms race in the teeming but impoverished South Asian subcon...

 
Column-image

Title: A Bonsai Tree; Author: Narendra Luther; Publisher: Niyogi Books; Pages: 227 Many books have been written on India's partition but here is a firsthand account of the horror by a migrant from what is now Pakistan, who ...

 
Column-image

As talk of war and violence -- all that Mahatma Gandhi stood against -- gains prominence across the world, a Gandhian scholar has urged that the teachings of the apostle of non-violence be taken to the classroom.

 
Column-image

Interview with Hudson Institute’s Aparna Pande, whose book From Chanakya to Modi: Evolution of India’s Foreign Policy, was released on June 17.

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive