NEW DELHI: A high-pitched war of words between two lawyers led the Supreme Court to adjourn the hearing in the sensitive Kerala marriage case to October 30, saying it would not accept submissions unrelated to the matter.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra got irked when senior lawyer for Hadiya’s husband Shefin Jahan Dushayant Dave referred to the names of BJP President Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and imputed political motive.
“Yogi Adityanath spoke of ‘love jihad’ in Kerala… this court should know the ground ground realities,” Dave said, adding that Shah had also visited Kerala vitiating the atmosphere by raising love jihad issue.
“Unless a political personality’s conduct directly affects this case, let us keep it out of here.. We do not have to bring the extra-legal authority here who is unrelated,” the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said.
Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, appearing for NIA, vehemently opposed Dave’s submission and said this was “politics” and the senior lawyer was “browbeating” the court which was “obnoxious and unpardonable”.
The bench then took on Dave and said “this kind of arguments cannot be tolerated” in the court and made clear that it would not hear the case.
At the outset, Dave said the first petition filed in the high court was disposed off. Later, the second plea was entertained, which had led to the annulment of marriage between Shafin Jahan and the Hindu woman who had converted before the marriage, he said.
He also termed Kerala as a multi-cultural society where inter-faith marriages have been taking place and being accepted by the society and, in this regard, he also referred to a recent speech of President Ram Nath Kovind.
Dave then started dealing with the so-called political angle to the case, which was objected to by the bench and the counsel for the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
The bench was of the prima facie view that the question was whether the High Court can exercise its power under writ jurisdiction to annul the marriage of a Muslim man with a Hindu woman who had converted to Islam before tying the nuptial knot.
However, the war of words irked the bench which told Dave that his way of arguments has “bulldozed” the case and made clear that it would not hear it on Monday.
The bench asked when a person has consented for marriage, can the High Court annul it unless the person is not in a position to consent.
“Yes, your Lordships, and the people behind this have indoctrinated the girl” the ASG said indicating that the consent may be vitiated.
The ASG said the NIA was asked by this court to probe and the High Court considered various aspects in annulling the marriage.
Dave replied saying the NIA abused the court’s order as it was said that the probe agency would investigate the case under the supervision of former judge Justice Raveendran. However, Raveendran declined and yet it proceeded with probe, he added.
The NIA was playing into the hands of the government, he alleged.
“I am disturbed that you are trying to browbeat the other side by such obnoxious statements. They have been using intimidation (tactics) continuously,” the ASG responded.
“At least, we only do it in court. Not outside court like your government,” Dave replied.
The bench said “we do not want to hear submissions unrelated to the case. Please restrict your arguments to the lis in question.”
Jahan had on September 20 approached the apex court seeking recall of its order directing the NIA to investigate the controversial case of conversion and marriage of a Hindu woman with him.
26-year-old Shafin Jahan married to 24-year-old Hadiya Aka Akhila Ashokan in December 2016 after she converted to Islam. It was alleged that Hadiya was recruited by IS’s mission in Syria and Jahan was only a stooge.