On the 5th of August, we were optimistically talking about how the Supreme Court is in the process of cleaning up the mess the Kerala High Court made back in May when they decided to annul the marriage of of 24-year-old Hadiya and her husband Shafin Jahan by saying it was possibly a case of love jihad.
That optimism was misplaced though, because rather than trying to clean up the mess, the SC is taking what the HC said and running with it. Not only are they continuing to refer to her by her birth name, Akhila, as opposed to her chosen name, Hadiya, they’ve also refused to actually speak to Hadiya in court at all yet, saying that they don’t need to speak to her at this stage in the case. In their language, the court also continues to operate on the assumption that Hadiya was forcibly converted, without getting her version of events at all.
Worse of all, the SC actually ordered the National Investigation Agency (NIA) which investigates terrorism, to look into this case to see if it was part of an (imaginary) trend of “love jihad”, or Muslim men forcibly converting Hindu women to Islam and then marrying them.
Isn’t it crazy? Hadiya’s father alleged that Jahan had links to terrorists and ISIS because he was once a member of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI). This is not a logical conclusion that courts should be entertaining, as all members of the SDPI are not members of ISIS or vice versa. Whatever the party’s politics may be, membership in it is not an automatic link to ISIS, and acting like it is speaks more of a propensity towards bigotry than any astute political knowledge.
By giving this much credence to the “love jihad” angle of this case instead of allowing two adults to marry whomever they wants, the SC is also repeating the language used by the Kerala High Court in its inane May 2017 judgement, particularly by insisting that Hadiya should remain in the custody of her parents, when all she clearly wants to do is live with the man she loves.