Hadiya, when brought in the courtroom by the police personnel and accompanied by her parents father Asokan and mother Ponnamma on 27th November, everyone expected that the dispute which remained was whether the interaction of the judges with the woman should be held in open court as was decided earlier, or in camera considering the sensitivity of the case and taking into consideration her privacy as the issue involved was an individual’s marriage.
After briefly hearing Advocate Shyam Diwan who represented the woman’s father Asokan, who demanded in-camera examination for her and the NIA counsel ASG Maninder Singh, the bench concluded that they will hold the proceedings in open court only.
When at one stage the Chief justice said “Its already 4:15 and we shall continue with the arguments tomorrow”, the legal team consisting of Senior Advocates Kapil Sibal, Indira Jaising and Lawyer P V Dinesh who were supporting the couple, began losing patience and pointed out to the bench that “this was very unfair”.
Sibal remarked, “I am saddened that in place of letting the autonomous adult, Hadiya, voice her opinion on the entire issue, the Court is attaching more significance to the investigation report on her psychological brainwashing and the syndicate responsible for such conversions. The first step would be to interview the girl”.
The Chief Justice then responded to Sibal and Jaising: “Please try to understand. We have not refused to interact or we have not said we will not. But the stage...when we should do...We have to lay down parameters...It’s a complex case...I, my brother judges Justice Khanwilkar and Justice Chandrachud have sat in different High Courts too...we have not come across such a case there also..I haven’t …they too agree...This is the first time, so that is why we were proceeding cautiously and a bit slowly.”
Then, one-to-one conversation between the bench and Hadiya followed.