Kerala govt defends police in apex court

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The Kerala High Court had on May 24 annulled the December 19, 2016 marriage of Shafin Jahan with Akhila, renamed Hadiya, after terming it a "Love Jihad".

The Supreme Court had ordered a comprehensive probe into the various aspects of the case including the conversion of the woman to Islam, religious institutions and people involved, and the ones she was in contact with.

"Kerala police competent to investigate such crimes & would've reported to Centre if any scheduled offence would've been found (sic)", the Left government further added in the affidavit.

The letter - signed by around 70 women activists and kindred groups - demanded an immediate visit by the women's panel members to Hadiya, and a probe of human rights violations, if any, in her case. But Jahan approached the Supreme Court against the annulment.

In an affidavit filed in the apex court, the state government said the investigation by the state police so far has not revealed any offences that warranted a probe by the central agency, which has been established to deal with terror related crimes across states.

"The Kerala Police had conducted a thorough investigation in an efficient manner". Earlier a Bench headed by former Chief Justice J S Khehar had ordered the NIA probe.

However, the State clarified that it was not against the SC order that called for an NIA investigation.

In compliance with the orders of the apex court, the case was re-registered by the NIA and an investigation was taken up. The court had observed that the parents of the girl can not keep her in custody using force.

The court wondered how a HC could annul a marriage between adults and posted the matter for hearing on October 9.

During a hearing on this case, the Supreme Court observed that "prima facie", the high court is not able to nullify the marriage of a Hindu woman with a Muslim man after her conversion.