Indira Gandhi dedicates International Women of Courage recognition to all single parents in Malaysia

Source: The Star Online

M. Indira Gandhi sharing a moment with Ambassador Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir. Pic from The Star.

KUALA LUMPUR: M. Indira Gandhi had dedicated her International Women of Courage (IWOC) plaque honouring her courage in the nine-year battle against the unilateral conversion of her three children to Islam to all the single parents in Malaysia.

“I didn’t expect this at all,” said Indira, while accepting the plaque from US ambassador to Malaysia Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir at a reception in her residence.

“This (the plaque) not only represents me, but all the single parents like me,” she said.

Indira is the US Embassy in Malaysia’s nominee for the US State Department’s IWOC award this year.

The IWOC Award recognises women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk and sacrifice. Read more

Indira Gandhi nominated for US International Women of Courage award

Source: The Malay Mail Online

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

IPOH, March 27 ― Kindergarten teacher M. Indira Gandhi, who won a high-profile court battle against the unilateral conversion of her children to Islam, has been nominated for the US Department of State’s International Women of Courage award.

Indira will be honoured at a reception, held in conjunction with International Women’s Day 2018 and Women’s History Month, at the residence of United States Ambassador Kamala Shirin Lakhdir in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow.

“I had known about this for a while, but I tried to keep it to myself. It’s a strange and wonderful feeling because it’s something I never expected,” she told Malay Mail today.

“This was never part of my agenda, because I only wanted to get my children back. But I’m excited and grateful to be honoured in this way.” Read more

Despite top court ruling, lawyer insists Indira Gandhi’s kids still Muslim

Source: The Malay Mail Online

(From left) lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla, UTM Law Lecturer Muhammad Fathi Yusof, lawyer Aston Paiva and lawyer Lukman Sheriff Alias at a public talk in Kuala Lumpur March 2, 2018. — Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli

KUALA LUMPUR, March 3 — The three children of Hindu mother M. Indira Gandhi are Muslim, according to lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla despite a landmark Federal Court ruling that nullified their unilateral conversion by their father.

Haniff Khatri told a forum discussing the Indira Gandhi case here last night that Tan Sri Zainun Ali — one of the five judges who made the unanimous ruling in January to nullify the muallaf or Muslim-convert certificates — did not declare the children non-Muslim when reading out the 99-page judgment.

As such, the ruling only affected the validity of their muallaf or Muslim conversion certificates, which the lawyer said was merely administrative.

“If you read the judgement, the honourable Datuk [sic] Zainun, she stated that the challenge made [by Indira] was not regarding the children’s religious status. The challenge was in relation to whether the conversion certificates issued by the authority is valid or not, in accordance with the enactment. Read more

Sustain supremacy of constitution, urge legal eagles

Source: Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: The three arms of the government — the executive, legislature and judiciary — must uphold the supremacy of the 60-year-old constitution, following a recent landmark ruling, a retired judge and lawyers said.

They also said judicial power and judicial independence were sacrosanct in the Malaysian constitutional framework to keep every organ and institution of the state within its legal boundary.

The legal minds said ministers, elected or appointed members to the legislature and judges must give effect to their oath of office to protect, preserve and defend the constitution — the supreme law of Malaysia.

Read more

Review of the Indira Gandhi decision? — Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The Sun Daily

(Deputy President, HAKAM)

HARDLY is the ink dry on the Federal Court’s Indira Gandhi decision, a group of NGOs have announced that they will file an application for the Federal Court to review its decision. The public seems intrigued. After all, it was a final decision of the highest court of the land. What is this power of review? When can it be exercised?

Does the power exist?

Yes, the Federal Court does have an inherent power to review its own decision. It has a wide discretion to do so. But it is an exceptional power which is sparingly exercised. Read more

Ex-Bar president ‘vindicated’ by Indira ruling

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Param Cumaraswamy says judges rose to the occasion in accepting the basic structure doctrine which he along with others had struggled for 40 years ago. Image from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: A former Malaysian Bar president today hailed the acceptance of the basic structure doctrine as part of Malaysian law, following the Federal Court ruling to set aside the conversion certificates of M Indira Gandhi’s three children.

The basic structure doctrine is an Indian judicial principle that certain basic features in the constitution cannot be altered, even with approval from two-thirds of the members.

One of its most recognisable features is that judicial power be vested in the courts.

Param Cumaraswamy, who had been at the forefront of attempts 40 years ago to persuade judges to accept the doctrine, said he felt vindicated by the judgment.

Param’s efforts at the time were shared by two other presidents, G T S Sidhu and Raja Abdul Aziz Addrusse, who have since passed away.

“The bench then was inclined to believe that it was Parliament that was supreme, not the Federal Constitution,” Param told FMT. Read more

Muslim coalition to challenge Federal Court decision on unilateral conversion

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 7 — A Muslim coalition will file a judicial review in a bid to overturn a landmark Federal Court decision that outlawed the unilateral conversion of children recently.

The Malaysian Insight reported that Movement to Defend Ummah reached the decision after a roundtable discussion involving Malaysia Shariah Lawyers Association president Musa Awang, former chief justice Ahmad Fairuz, Ummah chairman Ismail Mina Ahmad and Pahang mufti Abd Rahman Osman in Kuala Lumpur today.

The movement’s chief secretariat Aminuddin Yahaya said the Federal Court’s decision to nullify the conversion of the three children was not in line with the Constitution that states Islam is the main religion of the country.

Last week, the Federal Court ruled that the unilateral conversion of M. Indira Gandhi’s three children to Islam by her ex-husband was null and void. Read more

If this is Islam, I am embarrassed — Fa Abdul


Source: The Malaysian Insight

“MA, did you read about the Indira case?” my daughter asked, referring to the landmark ruling of the unilateral conversion of M. Indira Gandhi’s three children to Islam which the Federal Court declared null and void.

“Yup. Good news isn’t it?” I replied.

“Yes, it is good news but it is still sad.”

Curious, I asked her what about the case which made her sad, not at all suspecting what she had to say.

“Indira lost her husband upon his conversion to Islam in 2009 – the same time you were separated from Papa. And she was fighting for the custody of her children the same time you fought for our custody,” my daughter’s voice was soft but full of emotion.

Read more

Federal Court: Islam requires convert to consult spouse before changing child’s faith

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — Islamic principles oblige Muslim converts to seek their non-Muslim spouses’ opinion before altering the religion of children born to a civil marriage, the Federal Court has indicated.

In the full judgement for its landmark ruling on Monday, the Federal Court highlighted two tenets in Islam — namely Al Syura, or consultation, and Al Adl, or justice — that are prescribed to Muslims.

“There was no consultation if the reverting parent has absolute right to change the original religion of the children without consulting the non-reverting parent,” Federal Court judge Tan Sri Zainun Ali said in a 100-page judgement sighted by Malay Mail.

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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