The Kerala ‘Love Jihad’ case saw a twist today with the Supreme Court making pointed observations while hearing the appeal against a decision by the Kerala High Court to annul the marriage of a Hindu girl who converted to Islam.
The court observed that it will examine the question of whether the High Court overstepped its judicial duties in annulling the marriage of Fadiya, formerly known as Akhila, daughter of Ashokan, an ex-defense personnel.
The Supreme Court also expressed its willingness to re-examine its earlier order seeking an investigation by the National Investigation Agency or NIA into the entire episode.
The Kerala High Court had annulled the marriage after it suspected foul-play by an Islamist organization behind the affair.
Fadiya was married to Shafeen Jahan, a native of Kollam, even as the High Court was hearing a case filed by Ashokan seeking custody of his daughter on the grounds that some Islamist organizations were planning to take her to Syria.
The High Court took a dim view of her marriage as it suspected that it was a sham intended to legally transfer her ‘guardianship’ from her father to Jahan, who is reported to be an active member of the SDPI, a Islam-oriented political party, to sabotage the petition.
Fadiya and Jahan were practically strangers when the marriage happened, the court had observed.
Hearing the appeal, the Supreme Court today said it was not sure that Ashokan could claim to be the sole and primary guardian of the girl.
It noted that the girl was 24-years old and an adult in her own right. As such, it observed, she had the right to decide who her guardian should be.
The Supreme Court will again take up the matter on Monday.
Ashokan, an activist of the Communist Party of India, has blamed the Left movement in Kerala for not extending support in his fight to ‘free Akhila’ from Islamist forces.
Akhila became Fadiya under the influence of her room-mates when she was studying to become a Homoeo doctor in Salem, Tamil Nadu. She joined an Islamic learning center, SatyaSarani, in Kerala midway through her course without telling her father.