Supreme Court orders NIA probe into ‘love jihad’ case

The central agency says it has detected a “pattern” emerging in Kerala.

August 16, 2017 12:39 pm | Updated December 03, 2021 12:31 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The NIA headquarters in New Delhi. File

The NIA headquarters in New Delhi. File

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that the alleged conversion and radicalisation of a Hindu woman and her marriage to a Muslim in Kerala is not an “isolated incident“ and it has detected a “pattern” emerging in the State.

The court promptly ordered the NIA to start an investigation even as the Kerala police readily obliged to bow out of the probe into the case.

A Bench of Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud set up a committee led by the former Supreme Court judge, Justice R.V. Raveendran, to supervise the NIA probe and ensure it is fair.

Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh submitted that the case of conversion and marriage of the woman in question is “not an isolated case and we have come across another case with a similar pattern and involving the same people who are acting as instigators”.

Senior advocate V. Giri, appearing for the Kerala police, said the State police wants to withdraw from the investigation and was ready to hand over all the probe documents to the NIA.

“There is already a special investigation team and the probe is proceeding. But let the NIA now complete the investigation,” Mr. Giri said.

At one point, Justice Khehar told Mr. Giri that the court had asked the NIA for inputs because it was an agency from outside the State. “We thought you [the Kerala police] may take sides. So we asked the NIA,” he said.

“Yes... now it is up to the NIA to carry on,” Mr. Giri replied.

Mr. Singh said the NIA found that the same people were behind the women’s conversion and marriage.

“There is the same lady. The entities behind this are the same. The girls convert and they refuse to stay with their relatives. These people take them in and the marriage is done during that time... This matter requires further investigation,” Mr. Singh submitted.

Appearing for Shafin Jahan, the petitioner who had approached the court for his wife, senior advocate Kapil Sibal and advocate Haris Beeran said the NIA “has many U-turns to its credit” and the court should first talk to the woman in question.

To this, Justice Khehar replied that the court will “100% speak to the girl”. But it would be fair if the court hears what other stakeholders have to say first.

“Because if we speak to the girl and she says that she was forcibly converted and married off, the case is over. It will be unfair to you. So we will speak to her last before passing any orders. First we will see what you all have to say,” Justice Khehar told Mr. Sibal.

Mr. Singh had moved the court for a judicial order directing the Kerala police to hand over the case records to the NIA.

On August 4, 2017, the court said it would decide the actual truth behind the two conflicting images of the 24-year-old woman in question.

Mr. Jahan portrays her as an independent woman who converted to Islam on her own, much before their marriage was arranged in December 2016. The woman is in her father’s custody after the Kerala High Court annulled the marriage on May 24, 2017.

The father says she is a helpless victim trapped by a “well-oiled” racket, which uses “psychological measures” to indoctrinate people and convert them to Islam.

Advocate Madhavi Divan, who represents him, had submitted that “radicalisation is rampant in Kerala”.

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