The choice of partner lies within an individual's zone of core privacy, which is inviolable, independent of faith and cannot be dictated by the government or anyone, the Supreme Court said while detailing why it had upheld Hadiya's marriage to Shafin Jahan.
The court said that the right to marry a person of his or her choice is integral to right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. The order had overturned the Kerala High Court's order which had annulled the marriage.
"This right cannot be taken away except through a law which is substantively and procedurally fair, just and reasonable. Intrinsic to the liberty which the Constitution guarantees as a fundamental right is the ability of each individual to take decisions on matters central to the pursuit of happiness," the Bench said.
"The Constitution exists for believers well as agnostics. The Constitution protects the ability of each individual to pursue a way of life or faith to which she or he seeks to adhere. Matters of dress and food, of ideas and ideologies, of love and partnership are within the central aspect of identity... It is parties to a marriage who decide whether they continue with the relationship or not. Society has no role to play in determining our choice of partners," it also said.
"Public spectacles involving state power prevent the exercise of freedom, by others in the same milieu. Nothing can be as destructive of freedom and liberty. Fear silences freedom."
The bench said the Kerala High Court had travelled into the impermissible zone of jurisdiction by annulling the marriage between Hadiya and Jahan while entertaining a habeas corpus petition filed by her father. However, the court permitted the NIA to continue with its investigation into any criminality behind the concept of 'love jihad'.