New Delhi: A wife is not a chattel and the husband cannot be her guardian, the Supreme Court said today after interacting with Hadiya, a woman from Kerala, who is the alleged victim of "love jihad".
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud interacted with 25-year old Hadiya for nearly half-an-hour and posed questions on her life, ambition, studies and hobbies.
Hadiya told the Supreme Court that she wanted the 'freedom' to live with her husband, profess her faith in Islam and that she very well aware of what she was doing.
When the bench asked Hadiya to name any relative or any near acquaintance to be named as her local guardian in college at Salem in Tamil Nadu, she said her husband could be her guardian and she does not want anyone else in that role.
"A husband cannot be a guardian of his wife. Wife is not a chattel. She has her own identity in life and society. Even I am not guardian of my wife. Please make her understand," Justice Chandrachud said.
The bench posed questions to Hadiya in English while she answered in Malyalam, which was translated by senior advocate V Giri, who appeared for the Kerala government.
When the bench asked Hadiya what her dreams are for the future, she replied she wanted freedom and to live with her husband.
The bench then asked whether she was comfortable in professing her faith and studying simulatenously and told her that being a good citizen, she can profess her faith and be a good doctor.
Hadiya replied she wanted freedom to profess her faith and is fully aware of what she is doing.
The bench then asked her whether she wanted to continue her studies and pursue internship in house surgeonship at the expense of the state government. She replied that she wanted to pursue her studies, but not at the state's expense as her husband will take care of her.
She further requested the Supreme Court that she be allowed to visit her friend before being taken to Salem, to which the court agreed and directed the state government to provide her security.
The court asked Kerala police to ensure that she travelled at the earliest to Salem in Tamil Nadu to pursue homeopathy studies at Sivaraj Medical College there and appointed dean of the institution as her local guardian.