STATEMENT: HAKAM welcomes Federal Court’s rejection of Unilateral Religious Conversion of Minors

STATEMENT DATED 29 Jan 2018pdf


M. Indira Gandhi (left) smiles with her mother after the Federal Court annulled the unilateral religious conversion of her three children in Putrajaya January 29, 2018. — Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli

HAKAM welcomes the Federal Court judgment handed down today in the Indira Gandhi case which has finally provided clarity in relation to issues that have plagued the nation for years.

The well articulated and courageous, unanimous judgment of the Federal Court delivered by YA Tan Sri Datuk Zainun Ali FCJ has resolved the vexed issues surrounding numerous cases of unilateral conversion where the non-converting spouse has been left without remedy in the civil courts.  This was a situation that screamed for a solution either in the Parliament or in the courts.  Yet both abdicated, until now.

The Federal Court has now determined that Article 121(1A) cannot prevent the civil courts from exercising its jurisdiction in determining matters under federal law, notwithstanding the conversion of a party to Islam.  It further held that the powers of judicial review of the civil courts are key in performing their constitutional role in supervising the administrative actions of all statutory bodies.  Hence the civil courts have the jurisdiction to examine the validity of the certificates of conversion in relation to Indira Gandhi’s children.

Upon examining the process, the Federal Court found it flawed and set aside the certificates of conversion. Read more

Federal Court judgment on Indira Gandhi case

Source: The Malaysian Insight

Background facts

The appellant, Indira Gandhi Mutho and the respondent in appeal no. 19, Patmanathan Krishnan were married on April 10, 1993.

The marriage was registered under the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 (‘the LRA’). There were three children of the marriage, Tevi Darsiny, aged 12, Karan Dinish, aged 11 and the youngest, Prasana Diksa, who was 11 months old (at the time of filing of the appellant’s application for judicial review dated 9 June 2009).

On March 11, 2009, the 6th respondent converted to Islam. At the time of the 6th respondent’s conversion, the two elder children were residing with the appellant while the youngest child was with the 6th Respondent.

Sometime in April 2009, the appellant received documents from the 6th respondent showing that her three children had been converted to Islam on April 2, 2009 and that the Pengarah Jabatan Agama Islam Perak had issued three certificates of conversion to Islam on her three children.

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Indira arrives at court for decision on unilateral conversion case

Source: The Star

PUTRAJAYA: Kindergarten teacher M. Indira Gandhi has arrived at the Federal Court here Monday for the decision on her appeal against the case regarding unilateral conversion of her three children to Islam by her former husband Muhammad Riduan Abdullah.

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Handicapped group denied favourite spot to do business at Batu Caves

Source: Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: The Hindu rights body Hindraf has urged Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali to help a group of wheelchair-bound volunteers get back their normal spot opposite the Batu Caves temple main gate to do business.

The group, Independent Living and Training Centre Malaysia, has for the past 12 years used the Thaipusam celebrations to set up stalls there to sell various items to raise funds and publicise their activities.

But this year, for some reason, the Selayang Municipal Council has decided to relocate them further away from the entrance, making it difficult for the handicapped volunteers to move about.

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Two police officers remanded for alleged corruption

Source: The Malaysian Insight

TWO policemen have been remanded for four days, ending Tuesday, to help investigations into a case where they were alleged to have demanded and received a RM3,500 bribe.

Special Remand Court assistant Registrar Nur Haryatie Mohd Saini issued the remand orders for the inspector and assistant superintendent of police (ASP) allowing an application by Negri Sembilan Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating officer Riduan Kadri.

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Ministry says found 13 hotels banning staff from wearing ‘tudung’

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27 — The proposed amendment to the Employment Act 1955 to address discrimination in workplaces following the issue of the ban on ‘tudung’ (hijab or headscarf) in the hotel industry is expected to be tabled at the next Parliament sitting from March 5 to April 5.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem said the ministry was pursuing a tripartite discussion involving employers, employees and the government to refine the proposed amendments.

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