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Love Jihad

Muslim man’s marriage with Hindu girl annulled by HC

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala police have been asked by the Supreme Court to share with National Investigation Agency (NIA) records of its investigation into a case of alleged forced conversion of a Hindu woman and her marriage with a Muslim man. The marriage was later annulled by the State High Court.

The court further said that the records will help the NIA assess the matter independently and assist the apex court hearing Shefin Jahan’s petition against the annulment of his marriage.

“The NIA’s involvement is necessary to ascertain if this is really an isolated case or is there something more… something wider…,” a bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud said.

The NIA had earlier told the court that it could assist it only if it was allowed to look into the files of the Kerala police probe. Jahan’s lawyer, Harris Beeran, opposed NIA’s prayer for the files saying that it amounted to distrust the police.

“Why should we suspect? Let the entire matter come before the court. Are you doubting NIA? Why should you doubt NIA?” asked Justice Khehar.

“You see it as some kind of external agency? We are not asking them to investigate. We only want them to have case records so that they will give us a complete picture.” The court said that it appeared that the petitioner does not desire “the correct and independent view of the controversy”.

“Purpose of issuing a notice to NIA on the first day itself was for neutral and unbiased assistance,” it added.

“We are not going after any peculiar phrases (referring to ‘Love Jihad’) used by social media etc. We have to look into the facts of the case. If the NIA says there is no issue, then it is all right. But we have to see whether there is an issue of national security involved,” said Justice Chandrachud.

The high court had first rejected the claim of Akhila’s father, K M Ashokan, that she had been forcibly converted saying she was an adult. It annulled the marriage after Ashokan again approached the court saying she may be taken out of the country even as Akhila had insisted that she had an arranged marriage with Jahan.