New Delhi: India’s Supreme Court on Tuesday said the National Investigation Agency (NIA) could continue with its probe into the alleged “love jihad” case in Kerala, but it cannot investigate the marital status of the man and the woman.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra observed this after the NIA told the court that it had made substantial progress in the investigation which was conducted after the apex court’s direction.

“We are not concerned with it [probe]. Whether you carry on your investigation or arrest someone, we are not concerned,” the bench also comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud said.

“You can investigate it but you cannot investigate about their marital status,” the bench said.

The top court also said the Kerala-based woman Hadiya, alleged to be a victim of “love jihad”, had appeared before it and had specifically said she had married Shafin Jahan out of her own will.

The bench also observed that it would examine whether the Kerala High Court was correct in annulling the marriage while hearing a Habeas Corpus petition.

“We are only concerned with the choice of an adult to marry someone,” the bench said and posted the matter for hearing on February 22.

On November 27, last year, the apex court freed Hadiya from her parents’ custody and sent her to college to pursue her studies, even as she pleaded to be allowed to go with her husband.

The court took the decision after interacting with the 25-year-old woman, a Hindu by birth who had converted to Islam and married Jahan.

The court was hearing a plea filed by Jahan challenging the Kerala High Court’s order annulling his marriage with Hadiya.