This is the text of the open letter to Com. Pinarayi Vijayan from Kavita Krishnan, Secretary, All-India Progressive Women’s Association]
Shri Pinarayi Vijayan
This is in reference to the case of Ms Hadiya, whose marriage by choice to a Muslim man has been annulled by the Kerala High Court.
As you are aware, her current situation has generated concern across the country, primarily on account of her confinement in her parental household. I do hope you will agree that the Honourable High Court’s annullment of her marriage does go against certain basic freedoms guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. In fact, the recent judgement by the nine judge bench of the Supreme Court as affirmed that privacy is a fundamental right, and among other things, it covers the individual’s right to choose her own faith and marry by choice.
I do hope you will agree that Ms Hadiya, an adult at the time of her marriage, has the right, therefore, to enjoy her freedom to exercise her choice in marriage as well as practice the religion of her choosing. What has happened in effect, is that she has been sent into the custody of her family, and is being subjected to intense social and family pressure to renounce both these rights at the instance of the Honourable Hight Court, which one hopes is committed to the safeguarding citizens’ rights to make their private decisions. We are also aware that the police has not maintained impartiality, but imputed motives to her conversion.
In this context, we urge you to play a more proactive role. We hope you will speak to the public in the voice of reason, assuring Ms Hadiya that your government will take necessary steps and intervene in order to safeguard her rights guaranteed by our Constitution and supporting her right to be free from parental custody to exercise those rights.
Secretary, All India Progressive Women’s Association