The Malaysian Bar has expressed its disappointment with the Federal Court’s decision to grant Muslim convert custody of his son despite being in contempt of a High Court order.
Its president, Steven Thiru, said Izwan Abdullah (or N.Viran) defied the High Court custody order as well as a specific order prohibiting him from removing the children from ex-wife, S. Deepa.
He said Deepa was compelled to obtain a recovery order to direct the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and his officers to regain custody of her son, Mithran (Nabil) from Izwan.
“They did not comply with the recovery order, on the basis that there were conflicting custody orders by the Shariah Court and High Court,” he said in a statement.
He said the Federal Court had erroneously exonerated the inspector-general of police (IGP) and his officers for not complying with the High Court’s recovery order by holding that the Shariah Court custody order was valid until it was set aside.
The Seremban Shariah Court issued a custody order to Izwan on September 19, 2013, after he had converted Sharmila (Nurul Nabila) and Mithran (Nabil).
On April 7, 2014 the High Court, in dissolving the civil marriage of Deepa, 31, and Izwan (N. Viran), 33, gave the mother the custody of both children.
Two days later, Izwan went to Deepa’s home in Jelebu, Negri Sembilan, and snatched the boy from the mother’s custody. Mithran has since remained under the guardianship of the father.
On February 10, a five-men bench chaired by Tan Sri Raus Sharif varied the custody order and gave Izwan custody of the Mithran, now 8, while Deepa retained Sharmila, 11.
Thiru said IGP Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and his officers should not have relied on the flawed Shariah Court custody order and they acted in breach of the High Court’s custody order in refusing to enforce the High Court’s recovery order.
He said this exoneration by the Federal Court may be inferred as tacit approval of Izwan’s conduct in abducting the son, which the Seremban High Court described as “an act of contempt of the grossest kind”.
“The ex-husband appears to have been emboldened by the exculpation of the IGP and his officers. He has yet to be held accountable for his wrongdoing,” he said.
Thiru said the Malaysian Bar was also very concerned with the apparent last-minute decision by the Federal Court to interview the children in court, before the custody order was varied.
“This was improper, and undoubtedly an intimidating and scarring experience for the children,” he added.
Thiru said the Malaysian Bar, however, welcomed the ruling that affirmed the settled principle that the civil courts have exclusive jurisdiction over civil marriages contracted under the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976.
“The Federal Court correctly decided that the civil courts shall continue to have jurisdiction in respect of divorce and custody of children, notwithstanding the conversion of one party to Islam,” he added. – February 23, 2016
- Federal Court should have granted Deepa custody of both children, Malaysian Bar says [23 Feb 2016]
- Child custody: Converts must go back to civil court – Ramkarpal Singh [23 Feb 2016]
- Shariah court custody order valid in Deepa-Izwan case, says Federal Court [15 Feb 2016]
- Create legislation to ensure both parents provide consent for child conversions, lawyers say [15 Feb 2016]
- Deepa should wait for outcome of Indira’s conversion appeal, say lawyers [14 Feb 2016]
- My kids will remain Hindus, Deepa vows after losing custody of son [14 Feb 2016]
- After Deepa ruling, lawyers say child custody should go to the non-violent parent [13 Feb 2016]
- Federal Court Judgment of S Deepa: Domestic Violence & Child Custody — Goh Siu Lin [13 Feb 2016]
- Govt plans to amend acts on child custody in case of a change in religion [12 Feb 2016]
- Separating siblings in custody order tears family apart, say family law experts [12 Feb 2016]
- Court gave ‘disobedient’ Muslim convert custody, says lawyers’ group [11 Feb 2016]
- Lawyer: Decision in Deepa’s case failed to address unilateral conversion, legal reforms still needed [11 Feb 2016]
- Court gives girl to Hindu mother, son to Muslim dad [10 Feb 2016]
- Civil court should decide on custody of converted children, Federal Court rules [10 Feb 2016]