Why the Hadiya Judgment is Dangerous for Indian Women

Social Commentary

Why the Hadiya Judgment is Dangerous for Indian Women

Illustration: Akshita Monga/Arré


ongratulations, Indian women. If the constant, pressing need to be independent, exercise your agency, and live life on your own terms has been getting you down, the Supreme Court has got your back. Their ruling in the ongoing Hadiya case of “love jihad” makes it quite clear that grown women can’t have the final say in matters pertaining to their own lives, especially when it comes to important subjects like who they want to marry and how they want to pray. Please get ready to live free of the burden of all that pesky decision-making, because the country’s top court doesn’t believe you’re capable of handling it anyway.

Let’s rewind. Hadiya, a medical student in Kerala, had chosen to convert to Islam and marry a Muslim man against the wishes of her family in December 2016.  It’s a decision that our top court thinks cannot be attributed to free will, but to “Stockholm syndrome”. As such, Hadiya’s marriage and conversion will remain under judicial consideration, even as her fundamental rights to freedom and religion are forgotten entirely.