Indira seeks to recuse CJ, judge from hearing conversion case

Source: The Malaysian Outsider

M. Indira Gandhi is pictured at the Court of Appeal, Putrajaya, December 30, 2015. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

M. Indira Gandhi is pictured at the Court of Appeal, Putrajaya, December 30, 2015. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

M. Indira Gandhi is requesting Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria and judge Tan Sri Raus Sharif to recuse themselves from hearing her case.

Kindergarten teacher M. Indira Gandhi, who is appealing to reverse the Courts of Appeal ruling on unilateral conversion of her minor children, has requested that Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria and his number two Tan Sri Raus Sharif be excluded from hearing her case. Read more

Hindu mother files appeal in final push to reverse unilateral conversion on her children

Source: The Malaysian Insider

M. Indira Gandhi has applied to reverse the appellate court’s ruling on the unilateral conversion of her minor children. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, January 28, 2016.

Kindergarten teacher M. Indira Gandhi has filed her leave application to reverse the Court of Appeal ruling on unilateral conversion of her minor children, lawyer M. Kula Segaran said.

The lawyer said the application to the Federal Court was filed today via e-filing and copies had been served to the respondents.

“We have framed eight legal questions, which we think are of public importance to obtain leave from the apex court to hear the merit of the appeal,” he told The Malaysian Insider. Read more

Apex court can reverse own ruling on minor’s conversion to Islam, say lawyers

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Kindergarten teacher M. Indira Gandhi plans to take her case to the Federal Court, in a bid to declare the conversion of her children to Islam, done by her ex-husband, as null and void. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, January 11, 2016.

The Federal Court can break the impasse over unilateral conversions of children to Islam through M. Indira Gandhi’s case, although it had in 2014 ruled that conversions be decided by the Shariah court, lawyers say.

They said there had been past precedent of Federal Court benches departing from their previous decisions, and it was largely a question of how the legal questions were framed and argued before the judges.

Lawyer Mohamed Hanif Khatri Abdulla said the Federal Court bench could revisit the same issue it had decided earlier.

“No decision is cast in stone and cannot be changed. That is why we have a procedure in the Federal Court where parties get leave to argue issues of public importance.”

At the same time, there was nothing to stop the executive from amending laws in Parliament to pacify Muslims and non-Muslims on custody, conversion and the religious status of dead persons.

Hindu kindergarten teacher Indira will be appealing to the apex court after the Court of Appeal set aside the High Court’s decision to quash the conversion certificates of her children who were converted to Islam by her ex-husband without her knowledge. Read more

Government committed to resolve cross-faith child custody cases

Source: The Malay Mail Online

M. Indira Gandhi is pictured at the Court of Appeal, Putrajaya, December 30, 2015. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

M. Indira Gandhi is pictured at the Court of Appeal, Putrajaya, December 30, 2015. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 — A Cabinet minister tasked with looking into the long-standing child custody battle involving M. Indira Gandhi is confident the latest committee would provide solutions in ensuring such cases will be a thing of the past.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said: “We had solutions then (in 2009) and presented it but it did not materialise due to certain issues.

“Now, we have several ideas and even thought of alternatives if our suggestions hit a roadblock. I can’t get into details but we are looking at every aspect, including civil law, religious sensitivities and also consent from the Rulers who are the guardians of Islam.”

Dr Subramaniam, together with Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, are part of a new group that met the attorney-general on Thursday to find ways to resolve the case.

Dr Subramaniam, who is also MIC president, was part of the first group formed in 2009, while Nazri held the post of de facto law minister when the legal dispute involving Indira first started that year. Jamil Khir and Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri was part of a second group tasked to look into the case. Read more

Cabinet assigns 3 ministers to study implications of Indira Gandhi case, says report

Source: The Malaysian Insider

The case of religious conversion of M. Indira Gandhi’s children will be studied by three ministers. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, January 9, 2016.

The Cabinet has assigned three ministers to look into the implications of the Court of Appeal judgment on the conversion of kindergarten teacher M. Indira Gandhi’s children, minister Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau was quoted as saying in The Star.

Issues concerning the judgment, which held that unilateral conversions to Islam of minors had to be decided by the shariah court, were discussed at the recent Cabinet meeting, the science, technology and innovation minister said.

“The Cabinet has made certain decisions and it involves two or three ministers looking into it,” he said but declined to elaborate, The Star’s report said.

Tangau said the Cabinet recognised that the case had “wide implications” and while the ministries were not questioning the court’s judgment, it must be based on points of law.

“We don’t wish to question the decision of the judges but judgment must be based on the points of law and must not be due to other considerations,” Tangau was reported telling the media in Penampang, Sabah.

Meanwhile the New Straits Times today quoted Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said as saying that the three ministers who were assigned to look into the conversion case were Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom. Read more

Indira Gandhi case: Dissenting judge explains decision, suggests Chief Justice may have solution

Source: The Malay Mail Online

M. Indira Gandhi is pictured at the Court of Appeal, Putrajaya, December 30, 2015. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

M. Indira Gandhi is pictured at the Court of Appeal, Putrajaya, December 30, 2015. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 5 ― The contentious Article 121 (1A) in the Federal Constitution, which prohibits civil courts from interfering with the Shariah courts, does not apply to administrative decisions made by state bodies including Islamic agencies, a judge said.

Justice Datuk Dr Hamid Sultan Abu Backer ― who was the dissenting judge in the Court of Appeal bench that recently upheld the unilateral conversion of M. Indira Gandhi’s three children to Islam ― noted that the “pendaftar Muallaf” or registrar of Muslim converts who had registered the children as Muslims, fell under the purview of the Perak Islamic Religious Department (JAIPk) director.

Hence, any administrative decision made by the registrar, whose powers are set out in the Administration of the Religion of Islam (Perak) Enactment 2004, is subject to judicial review and the civil court has jurisdiction to hear the matter, he said. Read more

Indira Gandhi must fight to the end on minors’ unilateral conversion, say lawyers

Source: The Malaysian Insider

M. Indira Gandhi must appeal to the Federal Court on her children’s unilateral conversion to Islam since non-Muslims have no recourse at the Shariah Court. – Reuters file pic, January 4, 2016.

Kindergarten teacher M. Indira Gandhi must appeal to the Federal Court to determine if a converted Muslim parent can unilaterally change the religion of their children, lawyers said.

They said Indira must exhaust all legal avenues since the majority Court of Appeal ruling last week held that conversion was a religious matter for the Shariah Court to decide.

The lawyers said Indira’s predicament was a fit and proper case of constitutional importance because non-Muslims could not go to the Shariah Court to seek remedy.

Lawyer S. Selvarajah said Indira must complete the legal process, no matter what the outcome.

“The process may be costly to her but she will have no problem obtaining leave for the apex court to hear the merit of the case,” said the lawyer, who appeared for the Catholic Church over the right to use the word “Allah” in a weekly publication. Read more

Pertikaian keluarga di mahkamah luaskan jurang masyarakat, kata NGO

Sumber: The Malaysian Insider

Gan Ping Sieu berkata kes penukaran agama kanak-kanak secara unilateral bertukar menjadi wajah hodoh agama dan perkauman. – Gambar fail The Malaysian Insider, 1 Januari, 2016.

Kes penukaran agama anak-anak M Indira Gandhi, wanita beragama Hindu yang suaminya memeluk Islam, memecah-belahkan masyarakat, kata pertubuhan masyarakat sivil Centre for A Better Tomorrow (Cenbet).

Menurut presiden bersama Cenbet, Gan Ping Sieu, yang juga bekas timbalan menteri, kes itu menyebabkan ruang terbuka luas buat pelampau dan ekstremis agama dalam negara untuk bersuara.

“Akhirnya apa yang berlaku adalah pertikaian keluarga bertukar menjadi wajah hodoh agama dan perkauman yang meluaskan jurang antara masyarakat berlainan agama di negara ini.

“Ini menyebabkan wujudnya ruang subur buat pelampau dan bigot untuk bangkit dan ia bertentangan dengan prinsip kesederhanaan,” kata Gan dalam satu kenyataan hari ini.

Beliau kesal dengan kes tersebut yang menurutnya menyaksikan Indira dinafikan keadilan. Read more

How will non-Muslims get justice if they can’t be in the Shariah Court? Interfaith panel asks

Source: The Malay Mail Online

M. Indira Gandhi is pictured at the Court of Appeal, Putrajaya, December 30, 2015. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

M. Indira Gandhi is pictured at the Court of Appeal, Putrajaya, December 30, 2015. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 30 — Today’s Court of Appeal deferment to the Shariah Court in M. Indira Gandhi’s case effectively means non-Muslims are left in legal limbo when challenging unilateral conversions of their children to Islam, the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) said today.

MCCBCHST vice-president Jagir Singh criticised the Court of Appeal’s majority ruling today, where the civil court’s judges said only the Shariah courts can decide on the religious status of a Hindu mother’s children who were unilaterally converted by their Muslim convert parent.

“By pushing conversion cases to the Shariah courts the Court of Appeal appears to have abdicated its duty. It is akin to say, yes, you have a right but have no remedy,” the MCCBCHST immediate past president told Malay Mail Online when contacted for comments.

Jagir, who is also a lawyer, questioned how a Shariah Court, which only has jurisdiction over Muslims, can dispense justice to non-Muslims.

“About 20 years ago, it was the civil court who were hearing all conversion cases. This was correctly so as the Shariah court have no jurisdiction over non-Muslims and non-Muslims cannot appear as witnesses in a Shariah Court.

“Therefore, how is a Shariah court going to administer justice as it will not have the evidence of the non-Muslim parties involved in the case?” he asked.

Jagir said the Court of Appeal’s ruling today will not solve the predicaments faced by the spouse that had not converted to Islam, such as Hindu mother M. Indira Gandhi in today’s case. Read more

Sad day for religious minorities, interfaith council rep says after conversion ruling

Source: The Malay Mail Online

M. Indira Gandhi is pictured at the Court of Appeal, Putrajaya, December 30, 2015. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

M. Indira Gandhi is pictured at the Court of Appeal, Putrajaya, December 30, 2015. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 30 — The appellate court’s ruling today on unilateral conversions in M Indira Gandhi’s case is a major setback for the country’s religious minorities, a representative of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) said.

Lawyer Philip Koh, who was holding a watching brief for the council, said the decision meant that the spouse in a civil law marriage could unilaterally convert a child without the permission or knowledge of his estranged partner.

“This is a sad day for minority faith communities,” he told reporters after the appellate court delivered its ruling.

Koh said, however, that it was heartening that at least one judge in the three-man panel had disagreed with the unilateral conversions of Indira’s three children by her ex-husband.

The lawyer also expressed disappointment that although non-Muslims are often assured that their rights under the Federal Constitution would be protected, this was more dependant on how jurisprudence is applied by judges.

“It appears now… that this very protection is rendered meaningless, so that a mother of a child can have her baby being taken away and she’s not given access to the child for seven years,” he added, referring to Indira’s case.

In a 2-1 decision today, the three-judge panel at the Court of Appeal headed by Datuk Balia Yusof Wahi overturned an Ipoh High Court’s previous ruling that declared unilateral conversions unconstitutional. Read more