Hadiya case didn’t warrant probe by NIA, Kerala government tells Supreme Court
Four days after the Supreme Court said it would examine the question whether the Kerala High Court could annul the marriage of a Muslim man to a Hindu woman who had embraced Islam, the Kerala government told the apex court Saturday that a state police investigation into the matter had not found anything that would warrant a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
Shafin Jahan, whose marriage to Akhila Asokan alias Hadiya was set aside in May by the Kerala High Court which entrusted her custody to her parents, had sought recall of the Supreme Court’s earlier order which directed the NIA to probe whether there was a wider pattern of alleged love jihad in the case.
Last Tuesday, the bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said they would hear Shafin Jahan’s plea on October 9.
On Saturday, Kerala Additional Chief Secretary, Home Department, Subrata Biswas, in an affidavit filed in Supreme Court, said: “Investigation conducted so far by the Kerala Police has not revealed any incident relating to commission of any scheduled offences to make a report to the central government under Section 6 of the National Investigation Agency Act, 2006.”
The state government said the police investigation was on when the Supreme Court directed the NIA to conduct an investigation into the case. “The Kerala Police is competent to conduct the investigation in such crimes and would have reported to the central government if any scheduled offences (were) found to have been committed during such investigation as per the provisions of the NIA Act,” it said.
Akhila alias Hadiya’s marriage was set aside in May by the Kerala High Court after her father, K M Asokan, petitioned that she was forcefully and fraudulently converted to Islam.
Shafin Jahan moved the Supreme Court against the High Court order. But a two-judge bench, headed by the then CJI Justice J S Khehar, ordered an NIA investigation and said it would also examine the contention raised by her father that her conversion to Islam was done fraudulently. The court, however, agreed to hear the woman before taking a final decision on the matter.
In its preliminary report, the NIA said the case did not appear to be an isolated one, and it had found a pattern in some other cases too.
Justice Khehar retired in the last week of July following which Shafin Jahan again approached the Supreme Court, seeking recall of its earlier order.