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Hadiya case is a unique challenge, says Chief Justice of India

Victory at last: Hadiya arriving to appear before the Chief Justice of India at the Supreme Court, in New Delhi on Monday.   | Photo Credit: R. V. Moorthy

Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on Monday said the three judges on a Bench, in their collective experience spanning many years, had not come across a case like the Hadiya one.

Justice Misra said they would have dealt with more than a 100 habeas corpus petitions in the various High Courts they had presided over, but the Hadiya case was unique.

The court was balancing its concerns for Ms. Hadiya’s autonomy as an individual to make her own choice and the court’s power to explore further how she made the choice based on the National Investigation Agency’s material claiming she was indoctrinated by a well-oiled network in Kerala which was into radicalisation.

 

“We are concerned about the cherished value of liberty of an individual,” Justice D.Y. Chandrachud observed about the court’s initial doubts about the parameters it should follow in a case like this where an adult’s choice was under question before a court.

‘Persuasive arguments’

To Justice Chandrachud’s question that at what stage could a court venture and question the autonomy of an individual, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Shafin Jahan, who had moved the Supreme Court against the Kerala HC order annulling his marriage with Ms. Hadiya, said the court could venture only when there were overwhelmingly persuasive arguments which compelled it to break the autonomy of an individual and probe her choice.

Earlier, Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh argued forcefully that the NIA was probing 11 cases of suspected radicalisation, including Ms. Hadiya’s. He said the Kerala police had handed over 89 such cases. He said investigation had revealed that the only condition for the marriage between Mr. Jahan and Ms. Hadiya was that “he should be an active member of the Popular Front of India”.

“If this is a case of indoctrination, this interaction [between the court and Ms. Hadiya] has no meaning,” Mr. Singh submitted. “Why do you want to communalise Kerala?” Mr. Sibal referred to the NIA counsel’s submissions.

He questioned on what basis the NIA had conducted the investigation when the apex court had said it would appoint a retired SC judge to supervise the probe.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 7:33:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/hadiya-case-is-a-unique-challenge-sc/article21011529.ece

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