NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday set Hadiya or Akhila Ashokan, a 24-year-old Hindu woman from Kerala who converted to Islam, free from the custody of her parents and directed that she be allowed to complete her studies at a Salem homeopathy college.
Allowing Hadiya to walk free, the bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra directed the Salem college to allow her to complete her house surgeon internship.
The court directed that she should be allowed to meet people as per the medical college hostel rules.
The court order came after the bench, also comprising Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, interacted with her for about 25 minutes during which she expressed her desire to complete her house surgeon internship and pursuer her career as a homeopathic doctor.
‘Do you want to continue your studies on state’s expense?’ she replied, ‘I want to but not on state’s expense when my husband can take care of me,’ the court asked.
Sitting in court in a black head-scarf, the 25-year-old told, “I should be considered a human being. I want to be a good citizen. I have been in unlawful custody for last 11 months. I want to be a good doctor, but want to live true to my faith. If I am sent back to college to complete my course, I want my husband to be my guardian.”
The court directed the Kerala government to ensure that she safely reaches her medical college in Salem in the custody of plainclothes police personnel.
The Supreme court will continue the hearing on Tuesday. Next date of hearing fixed for third week of January.
Hadiya was asked to be present in the court on Monday to ascertain her views on her marriage to a Muslim man, Shafin Jahan. Her parents have alleged it is a case of “forced conversion”.
Her father, Asokan, has alleged that she was a pawn in the larger scheme of indoctrinating and recruiting of ISIS recruits. Earlier, the Kerala High Court had nullified her marriage to Jahan and she was given in the custody of her father.
Shafin Jahan had challenged the Kerala High Court order of May nullifying his marriage with Hadiya and sought recall of the court order asking NIA to investigate the conversion of Hadiya to Islam and her marriage.
With agencies inputs