Setting aside a 2017 Kerala High Court order, the Supreme Court on Monday said that the right to marry is a person of one’s choice is integral to Article 21 (right to life and liberty) of the Constitution. Last year, the Kerala HC annulled the marriage of Hadiya and Shefin Jahan. Delivering its order, the 3-judge bench said, “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 court added that 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 speaks to adhere. On March 8, the Supreme Court had given major relief to the couple by reinstating their marriage. The court ordered the NIA to continue its investigation, but not interfere with the marriage. During the hearing, the CJI added that he had never come across such a case before and said that they cannot go into the neurological aspect of the consent by a sound adult mind.

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Following the apex court’s order, Kerala medical student Hadiya on March 10, returned to Kerala with her husband on Saturday. Upon their arrival, the couple visited Popular Front of India (PFI) headquarters at Kozhikode and thanked the chairman for lending support to the duo in testing times. Speaking to media, Hadiya said that she had approached a few Islamic organisations asking for support but she did not receive any. “Some Islamic organisations criticised people who have helped us. All this fury is because I am a Muslim. After embracing Islam I approached a few Islamic organisations for their support. But no one helped me,” she said. 

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