KM Asokan, the father of Hadiya whose conversion to Islam and marriage to a Muslim man had created a big furore across the country, has moved the Kerala High Court alleging that his daughter is being illegally detained by her husband Shafin Jahan and certain persons associated with him.
Asokan in his plea claimed that his attempts to reach Hadiya over phone have proved futile for the past one month and the Homeo clinic she was running has also shut shop.
He has, therefore, sought issuance of a writ of Habeas Corpus to produce Hadiya in court
“Whenever the petitioner called the detenu for the last one month, the detenu is not receiving any calls and on many occasions, the mobile phone was switched off. On 03/12/2023, the petitioner went to the clinic and found it is closed. The neighbours told the petitioner that they don’t have any idea about the same. Now the petitioner apprehends that she has been moved to the illegally custody of the place and control of the respondents 3 and 4. Now the detenu is in the illegal custody of the persons under collusion and connivance of the 4th and 6th respondent. So the detenu is to be released at the earliest,” the petition said.
The petition could mark the second round of litigation surrounding Hadiya half a decade after the first controversy broke out in 2017.
Hadiya, who earlier went by the name of Akhila, is a 31-year-old woman from Kerala who converted to Islam and subsequently married a Muslim man, Shafin Jahan.
This is not the first time Asokan has moved the High Court with a habeas corpus plea of this nature.
In 2016, Asokan, moved the Kerala High Court with a similar habeas corpus petition alleging that Jahan had detained her illegally.
In a judgement dated 25 May, 2017, a division bench of the Kerala High Court annulled her marriage terming it to be a “sham” and directed that Hadiya be placed in the protective custody of her Hindu parents or an institution, so that she is prevented from being a further victim of “love jihad”. The judgment is said to be the first prominent use of the term. The High Court also directed a detailed inquiry into the role of various organisations involved in the case.
However, Jahan filed an appeal before the Supreme Court against the High Court judgement which was criticised for trammelling upon the decisional autonomy of an adult woman, and had also given rise to a wave of protests across Kerala.
In 2018, in a significant judgment, the Supreme Court set aside the judgment of the Kerala High Court. However, the Court held that the investigation by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the matter will continue.
“The High Court unwarrantably took exception to the same forgetting that parental love or concern cannot be allowed to fluster the right of choice of an adult in choosing a man to whom she gets married. The High Court should have, after an interaction as regards her choice, directed that she was free to go where she wished to,” the judgment stated.
The apex court further stated that the High Court erred in reflecting upon social radicalization and other aspects. It opined that if there was any criminality in any sphere, it was for law enforcement agency to do the needful.
The NIA later closed the case.
In the present plea, Asokan claimed that the marriage between Hadiya and Jahan is only on paper and that there is no actual marital relationship between them. He said that the homeopathy clinic that Hadiya had started after she completed her medicine course, closed sometime back.
He also alleged that Hadiya is sick, both mentally and physically.
Interestingly, he has also cited some judgments of the High Court that were delivered before the Supreme Court’s 2018 verdict, in which the High Court had supposedly held that “the parents are the proper persons to take decisions concerning the career and future of their daughters and parents will be entitled to have control over their children especially daughters to protect them from the vagaries of their immature minds”
He has also reiterated his earlier contention that Hadiya is being forced to learn the teachings for “joining Islam”
Alleging that she is being illegally detained by Jahan and his associates, Asokan has approached the High Court.
The petition will be heard on December 12 by a division bench of the High Court.
It was filed by advocates C Rajendran, BK Gopalakrishnan, RS Sreedivya, and Manu M.