Guest post by PINJRA TOD, a Delhi-based collective of students fighting to “Break the Cages” of women denied the rights of adult citizens by the restrictive and patriarchal rules of women’s hostels.
We write to you, to bring to your notice a recent judgement of the Kerala High Court which has annulled a consensual marriage of an adult Muslim woman. The judgement also makes many other remarks which can completely undermine any claim for equal citizenship for women and are violative of their fundamental and constitutional rights. Hadiya is a young woman, 24 years of age who has went on record to say that she willingly converted to Islam. Her parents have since approached the court twice asserting that she has converted to Islam under external force, demanding that she return to living with them. In their second petition to the Kerala High Court they also raised the allegation that she would be transported outside the country and demanded the court’s intervention.
During the proceedings of the second petition, Hadiya contracted a marriage with a Muslim man according to Islamic rites and rituals and stated her full consent in the marriage. The Kerala High Court has finally annulled the marriage and forced Hadiya into the custody of her father. She has not even been allowed a phone and has been denied any contact with the rest of the world beside her parents, in effect putting her under house arrest for no proven crime committed by her. Policemen guard her every day and just beyond stand RSS cadre further ensuring that their prize catch finds no exit from the situation.