It may have only been obiter dicta; but if a major decides to marry even a criminal, no one else has a say.
It was blindingly obvious, yet no one saw it clearly. During earlier hearings, the Supreme Court had not quite put its finger on the nub as it did Monday, when it said Hadiya, the woman at the centre of the “love jihad” row, was 24, and hence in a position to state if she married of her own free will, or not. The case got complicated due to the play of communal friction, but now should move quickly towards a denouement, as Hadiya was asked to clarify in open court on November 27 if she had indeed consented to marry Shafeen Jahan. The Kerala high court had curiously annulled the marriage and handed her over to her father, and a NIA investigation ordered by the Supreme Court before the bench, which included the Chief Justice, spotted the clearer path to justice.
It may have only been obiter dicta; but if a major decides to marry even a criminal, no one else has a say. The overriding principle is love trumps all as has been known through the ages. If an inter-religious romance became such a cause celebre, politicians must be blamed for portraying this as a communal conspiracy to convert Hindu women. If there are really 89 such cases in Kerala, suggesting a pattern of indoctrination and radicalisation as suggested by the NIA, investigators must bring out the truth. In this case, it’s for Akhila-Hadiya to say if she has chosen right. If people of all religions/castes agree their daughters have a right to marry men of their choice, we may even see the end of horrors like honour killings.