‘Yes, an adult has the right to choose’: Activists thank SC on Hadiya case

A number of activists and writers welcomed the Supreme Court’s observations, which allowed Hadiya to decide on her marriage.
‘Yes, an adult has the right to choose’: Activists thank SC on Hadiya case
‘Yes, an adult has the right to choose’: Activists thank SC on Hadiya case
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For months, the marriage of Hadiya, a Muslim convert from Kerala to Shafin Jahan has been argued not just in court halls across India, but also in the public sphere. Through the many twists and turns of the case, people have been keenly watching the developments.   

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court observed that the National Investigation Agency cannot probe the marriage between Hadiya and Shafin, stating, “She is an adult and hence she can decide on her marriage.” The court’s directions were welcomed by many in the state.  

Writer Shihabuddin Poythumkadav, who is vocal about social issues, said society should learn from the court’s observation, saying, “The court observation is a welcome one. But it shouldn’t be treated as a victory or a failure of one individual or a group of individuals. Instead we should learn from it, on how to view issues like this in the future. We haven’t yet developed as a civilized society when it comes to things like marriage in which the utmost importance is for individual choice. We still look at it conservatively, where a marriage happens inside a clan, with the unwritten law that one shouldn’t get married to someone outside his clan”.

He goes on to say, “Hadiya case has been created into a social issue, though the mental torture was bore by the woman and her father only. But majority of us viewed it as a football or cricket match, taking the side of one religion or the other, rather than looking at it as a humanitarian issue. The court is a solace in such cases, not in all though.”

Activist and academic J Devika, who is among those who fought for Hadiya’s freedom during her house arrest at her parent’s home in Vaikkom last year, says, “I am glad to hear the SC’s observation on Hadiya case. We have been saying this all along that she is an adult and her decision of whom to marry is her business. When we fight for Hadiya we fight for all young women in this country. Marrying someone of your choice is a fundamental right, no one should interfere in such decisions. In these times when we hear of one violation after the other, this is definitely a welcome news.”

While welcoming the court’s observation writer George Onakkoor, however, noted that the alleged terror links of her husband Shafin Jahan if proved true would be a cause of concern. He says, “The court’s move to give the freedom to Hadiya to decide on her marriage is a positive one. A grown-up individual has full right to decide on his/her married life. But in Hadiya’s case, there is an issue related to her husband. It is alleged that he has terror links. If it is proved so, then there are things to worry about her future and society also has to be concerned about that. If it is proved wrong, allow the couple to live their life.”

He added, “In Hadiya case, the house arrest, has made her stronger which is evident from her statement after she left her home. The parents also had gone through emotional pressure, but one can’t say that as a justification to curtail someone’s freedom.”  

Actor Parvathy also known as Mala Parathy also voiced her opinion, noting, “This a constitutional stand from the SC and a welcome observation from the bench. SC has been kind in granting a citizen’s fundamental right that is guaranteed in the constitution. Hadiya’s personal life has been controlled by government bodies and the media, that should not be the way of life.”

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