NEW DELHI: On International Women's day, the Supreme Court upholds a woman's right to choose her partner and has set aside Kerala High Court order of annulling Hadiya's marriage with Shafin Jahan and restored their marriage.
The High Court had cancelled the marriage calling it a sham as the girl was brain washed, converted to Islam and married off.
Today's order came as a huge relief to the couple who will be deemed legally married and can live together normally.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra while reading the operative part of the order said, "We are restoring Hadiya aka Akhila Ashokan's marriage with Shafin Jahan as we interacted with Hadiya and found that she has exercised her free consent in getting married to Shafin."
Upholding a woman’s right to choose her partner, the court said, “Hadiya is at liberty to pursue her life and NIA will carry on investigation as per law into the so-called Kerala 'love jihad' case without interfering in Hadiya's marriage."
The order comes on the plea filed by Jahan, Hadiya's husband, challenging a Kerala High Court order annulling his marriage with her.
Earlier in the day, the bench had remarked that, "How can the High Court annul a marriage between two consenting adults under Article 226 of Constitution of India. Let's go to the extreme that the marriage is a disguise to crime. Even then you can prosecute the offenders but not the marital status."
NIA lawyer Maninder Singh, adhered to its earlier stand that Hadiya's conversion and marriage had been a ploy to hatch terrorist activities in the country.
Earlier this week, Hadiya's father, claimed before the apex court in an affidavit that his efforts prevented his daughter from being transported to extremist-controlled territories of Syria to be used as a sex slave or a human bomb. He was responding to an affidavit filed by his daughter, who had earlier told the apex court that she had willingly converted to Islam and wanted to remain a Muslim.
On November 27 last year, the apex court had freed Hadiya from her parents' custody and sent her to college to pursue her studies.