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Kerala Love Jihad: Hold proceedings in-camera, father urges SC

By Vicky

An application has been filed in the Supreme Court urging that the interaction in the Kerala Love Jihad case be held in-camera. The father of the girl who converted to Islam before marrying a Muslim man has sought that the proceedings be held in-camera and not in open court.

Kerala Love Jihad: Hold proceedings in-camera, father urges SC

The application in this regard was filed after a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had on October 30 directed that the woman be produced before it on November 27 for an interaction in open court.

Asokan K M, father of the woman, referred to the communally sensitive nature of the case and sought in-camera interaction on some grounds including that radical elements could jeopardise the safety and privacy of his daughter and the family.

The top court had on August 16 said it would speak to the woman in-camera before taking a final decision on the matter. It has later modified the order saying "We may further add that this court shall speak to her not in camera but in open court."

Asokan, in his application, claimed that since the matter "involves sensitive issues involving the security and physical safety of the parties and communally sensitive issues in the backdrop of the involvement of radical/extremist elements, it is genuinely believed that in-camera interaction is necessary in the interest of the safety and privacy of respondent number one and his family."

The plea has also referred to the apex court's judgement declaring right to privacy as a fundamental right and urged the top court to consider the impact of privacy of not only the woman, but also her family.

"Further, given the extent of religious indoctrination by extremist elements, wherein the respondent number one's daughter is already spewing narratives of hell and the torment meted out to sinners, she may be subject to undue pressure which could be an obstacle to truth seeking and dispensation of justice," it said.

It also said that the Kerala High Court had sent the woman back to her parents and directed round-the-clock security for her family in view of the threat perception from radical elements.

The apex court had earlier observed that the free consent of a major to marriage has to be ascertained amid an assertion by National Investigation Agency (NIA) that an indoctrinated person may be incapable of giving free consent to marriage.

The NIA had referred to "psychological kidnapping" and said that an indoctrinated person may be incapable of giving free consent.

It had also alleged that there was a "well-oiled machinery working in Kerala" indulging in indoctrination and radicalisation and 89 such cases have been reported.

The NIA had claimed that this was a case in which the woman was indoctrinated and hence the court could invoke parental authority even if she was a major.

The counsel for her father had earlier claimed that Shafin Jahan, the alleged husband of the woman, was a radicalised man and had links with persons who used to recruit for ISIS.

The woman, a Hindu, had converted to Islam and later married Jahan. It was alleged that the woman was recruited by Islamic State's mission in Syria and Jahan was only a stooge.

Jahan had on September 20 approached the apex court seeking recall of its August 16 order directing the NIA to investigate the controversial case of conversion and marriage of a Hindu woman with him.

He had moved the top court after the Kerala High Court had annulled his marriage, saying it was an insult to the independence of women in the country.

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