Voluntary marriage not love jihad: man’s plea against Kerala HC ruling

Shafin Jahan challenges a Kerala High Court decision of May 24 to annul his marriage to a Hindu woman

July 09, 2017 11:37 pm | Updated 11:37 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The groom, Shafin Jahan

The groom, Shafin Jahan

It is not ‘love jihad’ if an adult Hindu woman, on her own volition, converts to Islam and marries a Muslim man according to Islamic rites, Shafin Jahan from Kerala told the Supreme Court.

The woman in question was a homeopathy student when she converted to Islam and changed her name . Mr. Jahan had met her with his family in August 2016 in response to her advertisement on a marriage website. The couple got married last December.

Mr. Jahan, represented by advocate Haris Beeran, filed a habeas corpus plea for her production in the Supreme Court. He challenged a Kerala High Court decision of May 24 to annul their marriage.

The High Court had sent the woman back to stay with her parents, while calling the marriage a product of ‘love jihad’ and radicalisation.

Mr. Jahan said he suspected that the woman was being “illegally confined”. His letters to her have remained unanswered.

Considering faith of kin

In its order, which Mr. Jahan said had “unnecessary religious overtones”, the High Court said the identity of a woman was strictly associated with her parents, in this case, “strictly Hindu”. The court further said she was the only daughter of her parents and brought up “in accordance with the faith of her parents”.

The court concluded that she was influenced and indoctrinated to convert “by persons whose identities have not been ascertained”. The court said a marriage in the absence of her parents was not valid in law.

The present petition contends that the woman had converted of her own free will. The marriage happened months after her conversion and as a result of her own online advertisement.

‘Religious ruling’

On a previous occasion, when her family had moved the Kerala High Court alleging that her conversion was forced by persons with Islamic State links, the court had refused to budge and allowed her to stay in a hostel.

Mr. Jahan’s petition said the High Court order was “an insult to the independence of women of India as it completely takes away their right to think for themselves and brands them as persons who are weak and unable to think and make decisions for themselves”.

Mr. Jahan contended that a non-Muslim father cannot execute the nikah of his Muslim daughter.

He asked the Supreme Court to stay the High Court order.

Her production in court will help in ascertaining her intent. After all, her choice is paramount, the petition said.

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