The Supreme Court said that a wife is not a chattel and husband cannot be her guardian. The observation was made during the hearing in the Hadiya case on Monday.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y 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 court that she wanted 'freedom' to live with her husband, profess her faith in Islam and that she very well understood what she was doing.
When the Bench asked Hadiya to name any relative or 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 the guardian of my wife. Please make her understand," Justice Chandrachud said.
The Bench posed questions to Hadiya in English while she answered in Malayalam, which was translated by senior advocate V Giri, who appeared for Kerala government.
When the Bench asked Hadiya about her dreams for the future, she replied that she needs freedom and want to live with her husband.
The Bench then asked whether she was comfortable in professing her faith and studying simultaneously and told her that being a good citizen, she can profess her faith and be a good doctor.
Hadiya replied she wanted the freedom to profess her faith and she fully understood what she is doing.
The Bench asked her whether she wanted to continue her studies and pursue an internship of in-house surgeons at the expense of the state government.
The woman said 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 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 the Sivaraj Medical College.