Hadiya
In a major twist, SC asks how the father of a 24-year-old can question her rights.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday questioned the Kerala High Court's order in the controversial Hadiya case, and in fact also questioned the Supreme Court's earlier decision in the case ordering an NIA probe as well.

On Tuesday, CJI Dipak Misra asked whether the Kerala High Court could annul a marriage between two adults. 

The SC made the observation regarding the controversial Hadiya case, pertaining to the conversion and subsequent marriage of a 24-year-old woman Akhila, who is now Hadiya, to a Muslim man Shafin Jahan.

The Kerala HC had nullified their marriage calling it a "sham" in May this year, after Hadiya's father approached the court alleging that there were efforts to take her to Syria to join an Islamic extremist outfit.

Questioning the Kerala HC's power to declare a marriage as null, CJI Dipak Misra said, "Either we will appoint loco parentis or we will send her somewhere safe. Father can't insist on her custody."

The SC was hearing a petition filed by Hadiya's husband Shafin Jahan against the NIA probe into the case. Shafin had petitioned the SC in September, alleging that Hadiya was under tremoundous physical and mental pressure at her house.

The SC bench with CJI Dipak Misra also questioned an earlier SC order by Justice Khehar, for an NIA probe in the case. 

Declaring an NIA probe in August, the SC had asked former Justice RV Raveendran to monitor the probe. However, he had months later, declined to take up the job, citing personal reasons.

Dushyant Dave, appearing for Shafin, told the court that the NIA probe 'shakes the very foundation of this multi religious country.' Dave said that the SC had gone beyond its jurisdiction by declaring an NIA probe.

“This investigation shakes the foundation of this multi-religious country. Two high functionaries of BJP have married members of minority community. Will Your Lordships order NIA probe into it? This order sends terrible signals all over the world,” Bar and Bench quoted Dave as saying.

The court also said that Hadiya's father Ashokan - who moved the court against her conversion and marriage - is not the only custodian of Hadiya. The apex court has posted the case for October 9.

Meanwhile, the Kerala State Women's Commission has joined as a party to the case. The Women's Commission had moved the SC last month seeking permission to meet Hadiya in person, after a number of rights activists petitioned to the commission, urging its intervention.

In the last couple of months, there were numerous protests in support of Hadiya in Kerala, urging the judiciary to take into consideration the human rights violations taking place with Hadiya at her home in Kerala