After Hadiya's Arrival, Supreme Court To Decide On Public Hearing

Hadiya, 25, must testify in camera or behind closed doors, her father told the Supreme Court yesterday, alleging that a public hearing would " turn into a reality show."

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After Hadiya's Arrival, Supreme Court To Decide On Public Hearing

Hadiya is meant to tell judges if she married Shafi Jehan a year ago of her own free will.

New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Counter-terror body NIA investigating Hadiya's conversion, marriage
  2. She will testify on her marriage in Supreme Court on Monday
  3. Her father has objected to judges calling for a public hearing
It is only after Hadiya, who was known as Akhila Ashokan before she converted to Islam, arrives to testify in the Supreme Court on Monday about her marriage that judges will decide whether the hearing is open to the public, they said today.

Hadiya, 25, must testify in camera or behind closed doors, her father told the top court yesterday, alleging that a public hearing would" turn into a reality show."

The judges responded today that they will take a decision on his request on Monday, which is when Hadiya will travel to Delhi from Kerala with her father and police cover.

Hadiya is meant to tell judges if she married Shafi Jehan a year ago of her own free will.

Their marriage was annulled in May by the Kerala High Court after her father, KM Ashokan, said that his daughter was among a series of vulnerable young Hindu women who are being recruited by terror groups through love and marriage. There is a pattern of "love jihad" in Kerala, the country's top investigating agency told the Supreme Court in August before being granted permission to deconstruct Hadiya's marriage.

A few weeks ago, delegates from the National Commission of Women visited Hadiya in her father's house, where she was legally ordered to live after her marriage was annulled. The team said that she appeared safe and healthy. Their house call followed a video shared by an activist, Rahul Easwar, in which she accused her father of physically abusing her.

Mr Ashokan has told the Supreme Court that the privacy and safety of his family, including his daughter, should be concerns for judges. He also cited the landmark August verdict in which the Supreme Court ruled that privacy is a fundamental right.

Hadiya's husband, Shafin Jehan, was interrogated last week for six hours by the National Investigation Agency or NIA. He has challenged the annulment of his marriage as well as the counter-terror agency's scrutiny of it. Shafi Jehan, who met Hadiya through and she placed on an Islamist matrimonial website is affiliated to the Popluar Front of India, a Kerala outfit accused of terror links by the NIA.

His lawyers have pointed out that the Kerala High Court has said all inter-faith marriages need not be seen as "love jihad."

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