January 17, 2022

Case Brief: Shafin Jahan vs Ashokan K.M. & Ors. (Hadiya Marriage Case)

case brief

Case Name- Shafin Jahan vs Ashokan K.M. & Ors. (Hadiya Marriage Case)

Court – Supreme Court of India

Citation – Criminal Appeal No. 366 of 2018 (arising out of SLP (Crl.) No. 5777 of 2017)

Coram- CJI Dipak Misra , Justice A.M. Khanwilkar , Justice DY Chandrachud

Brief Facts for Shafin Jahan vs Ashokan K.M. & Ors.

  • Appellant has approached this court to appeal against the Kerala High Court order which stated the marriage between Appellant and Hadiya (alias Akhila; Respondent no. 7) to be null and void.
  • Hadiya is a 24 year old, student of BHMS at a private college in Salem.
  • She was earlier ordered by the said court to stay with her parents because of the writ petition of habeas corpus filed before it.
  • She asked the court to stay in the hostel of her college to continue with her internship and complete her course.
  • She was allowed for the same and during that period , she apparently got married to Appellant which was a case of jihad as according to her father, Ashokan.
  • The High Court in its final order annulled the marriage and ordered Hadiya to stay with her parents. The same is challenged by Appellant before the Supreme Court

Issues in Shafin Jahan vs Ashokan K.M. & Ors. 

  1. Whether High Court can exercise habeas corpus under article 226 ?
  2. Whether High Court has any say in the personal matters under its jurisdiction?

Important Arguments –

For Appellant–

  • The article 21 of Constitution of India which includes right to marriage to all the adults and the other right to profess and practice any religion of own choice is being violated by the High Court order as it annulled the marriage between two adults of sound mind.
  • The Counsel for Respondent No.1 has tried to make the present case as a matter of jihad and relate it with communalism which is not the case and such step is taken to distract the law and order of society.
  • Also , the courts can exercise their ‘Parens Patrie jurisdiction’ under special cases. The present case was not the one where it should be exercised.
  • The writ of habeas corpus can be allowed if there is forceful detention of any person against its will and the same person should be presented before the court. In the present case, Hadiya who was alleged to be forcefully dentented had appeared before the court as and when the court asked . She was not kept against her will. On contrary, the order of the court to keep her mandatory stay with her parents was a violation of her right and was a case of forceful detention.

For Respondents–

  • The present case was one of the severe cases of love jihad and so there shall be in camera proceedings to maintain confidentiality and security.
  • The appellant tried to escort Hadiya to Syria and for that he had brainwashed her while she met him on an online site named as ready for nikah and was staying away from her parents during the same time.
  • She is weak and vulnerable and so the decision of marriage without her parents consent for the same is not right.
  • The court by exercising its ‘Parens Patriae Jurisdiction’ shall order Akhila to stay with her parents as they are her true and only well wishers.
  • Also the marriage should be declared null and void as it is made out of undue influence.

Judgement: Shafin Jahan vs Ashokan K.M. & Ors. 

The Appeal was allowed and the marriage between Shafin Jahan and Hadiya is declared to be valid.

The National Investigation Agency which is one the respondents is given the responsibility to make an inquiry if there is any chance that the marriage was made out of undue influence. Till then the marriage stands to be fully valid.

Also High Court has over exercised it’s jurisdiction under article 226 as it not allowed to issue orders in personal matters and also the habeas corpus writ which was allowed was also not right as there was no forceful detention and the said detune appeared before the court whenever she was called for.

Present Status –

The order is applicable and is not challenged till date.

Conclusion –

The present case is based on the contradiction which Indian society generally faces due to inter caste or inter-religion marriages of the kids. The Courts vary on the opinion to give the freedom to two adults who want to marry irrespective of their castes or religions or on the other hand to give parents the rights to decide what is right for their children as is the part and parcel of Indian tradition.

Speaking in legal preview, the rights weigh more than the social traditional values and shall be given utmost importance to decide any case.

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Contributed by: Siddhi Mehta (Student, Des’Shri Navalmal Firodia Law College Pune)

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