Divorce law reform leaves Hindu moms in custody row with mixed feelings

Source: The Malay Mail Online

M. Indira Gandhi (left) and S. Deepa are the focus of custody battles involving their former husbands who are Muslim converts. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, February 23, 2016.

M. Indira Gandhi (left) and S. Deepa are the focus of custody battles involving their former husbands who are Muslim converts. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, February 23, 2016.

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 27 — Hindu mothers S. Deepa and M. Indira Gandhi have reportedly expressed mixed feelings over the recently announced amendments to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

In a report by The Star Online, S. Deepa applauded the move but M. Indira Gandhi expressed her doubts, with both embroiled in lengthy legal battles over their children’s custody following their ex-husbands’ conversion into Islam.

“My prayers have finally been answered,” Deepa, currently a waitress, told the portal.

The 32-year-old woman, whose ex-husband unilaterally converted their two children into Islam, said she was happy that others would receive justice although she herself has “lost” her son.

“I lost everything … my hairdressing salon business, my house and I even had to leave my family, friends and hometown of Jelebu because of the case.

“I am still struggling to make ends meet in a place alien to me but at least others will not suffer what I went through,” she added.

On February 10, the Federal Court granted Deepa granted custody of the couple’s 11-year old daughter Sharmila, also called Nur Nabila, while her ex-husband Izwan Abdullah got custody of their eight-year-old son Mithran, also called Nabil, after the judges interviewed the children. Read more

PM: Civil court will have precedence in interfaith divorces

Source: The Malay Mail Online

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 25 — The civil courts will have precedence in mediating divorce and child custody cases involving spouses who convert to Islam after marriage, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced today.

He said the government will table a Bill to amend the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 in Parliament in October.

“I believe this is a just move that is in line with what Islam demands of us,” Najib said in his speech at the government’ Women’s Day Celebration here.

MORE TO COME Read more

‘Ban goes against rules’, Jamil Khir insists unilateral conversion constitutional

Source: The Star Online

dewan_rakyat_signpost_2015_-_parliament_reportKUALA LUMPUR: Any proposed law to ban unilateral conversions in Malaysia will contravene the Federal Constitution, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom.

“In the context of Malaysian law, whether civil or Syariah, we want to uphold justice and ensure that the rights of all parties are maintained and upheld.

“In that manner, any law to ban unilateral conversions is against Clause 4 of Article 12 in the Federal Constitution, which allows for conversion of a person under 18 years old by either the child’s mother or father,” he said in a written reply to M. Kulasegaran (DAP-Ipoh Barat) in Parliament yesterday. Read more

Indira Gandhi wins leave to challenge children’s unilateral conversion

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, May 19 — The Federal Court today allowed Hindu mother M. Indira Gandhi to go ahead with her challenge against the validity of the unilateral conversion of her three children by her Muslim convert ex-husband.

The Federal Court gave its order after senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan said the federal government was not objecting to two of the eight questions of law previously posed by Indira.

“Application is allowed in terms of question one, five and the additional question submitted,” Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin said.

The two other judges on today’s panel are Tan Sri Abu Samah Nordin and Datuk Aziah Ali.

Today’s decision means the Federal Court will consider three questions of law in its hearing of Indira’s appeal. Read more

M. Indira Gandhi’s application for leave to appeal over the conversion of her three children to Islam [Updated]

Source: The Malay Mail Online

File picture shows M. Indira Gandhi at Court of Appeal, Putrajaya, December 30, 2015. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

File picture shows M. Indira Gandhi at Court of Appeal, Putrajaya, December 30, 2015. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 26 — The Federal Court has set May 19 to hear an application by kindergarten teacher M. Indira Gandhi for leave to appeal over the conversion of her three children to Islam.

The matter came up for case management today before Federal Court judge Datuk Zaharah Ibrahim and she fixed the hearing date.

Present at the case management proceedings today were Indira Gandhi’s counsel M. Kulasegaran and Aston Paiva; lawyer Hatim Musa for Indira Gandhi’s ex-husband Muhammad Riduan Abdullah; senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan for the Education Ministry and the Government of Malaysia and also Perak state legal advisor Datuk Rohana Malik.

In a media statement, Kulasegaran said they had informed the court that they would like to request certain judges including Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria and Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif to recuse themselves from hearing the leave-to-appeal application.

“We have also asked for a panel of judges who are multiracial, multi- religious as per the population of the country and, finally, it should be multi-gender based,” he said.

Indira Gandhi, 40, is seeking to appeal to the Federal Court against the Court of Appeal 2-1 majority verdict reinstating the conversion certificates of her three children.

Under the law, she must first obtain leave (permission) from the Federal Court before proceeding with her appeal to that court.

Eight legal questions have been framed for the Federal Court to consider.

Indira Gandhi succeeded in her bid at the Ipoh High Court to quash the children’s conversion certificates but the Court of Appeal overturned the High Court decision.

The Court of Appeal majority decision on Dec 30 last year ruled that the civil High Court did not have the jurisdiction to decide on the validity of children’s conversion which was under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Syariah Court to determine.

That Court of Appeal had allowed the appeals by the director of the Perak Islamic Religious Department and two others, the Government of Malaysia, Education Ministry and the children’s father to set aside the High Court order that quashed the children’s conversion certificates.

The children were converted to Islam by their father, Muhammad Riduan Abdullah (formerly known as K. Pathmanathan), in April 2009 without Indira Gandhi’s consent after his conversion to Islam. The children were then aged 12, 11, and 11 months.

The three children, two girls and a boy, are now aged 18, 17 and seven.

The Ipoh Civil High Court nullified the Syariah Court order that gave custody of the children to Muhammad Riduan after it ruled that the Syariah High Court did not have the jurisdiction to grant the custody order when one party (the mother) was not a Muslim.

That court had allowed Indira Gandhi’s judicial review application for an order that the children’s certificates of conversion were null and void. — Bernama

 

Outcome of hearing on 19 May 2016: Indira Gandhi wins leave to challenge children’s unilateral conversion

Muslim NGO asserts unilateral conversions of children unjust, against Islam

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Datuk Thasleem Mohd Ibrahim asserts that unilateral conversion of children to Islam is against one of the key principles of the religion, justice, and is therefore ‘haram’ or forbidden. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

Datuk Thasleem Mohd Ibrahim asserts that unilateral conversion of children to Islam is against one of the key principles of the religion, justice, and is therefore ‘haram’ or forbidden. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 ― The high-profile case of Hindu mother Indira Gandhi’s long-drawn out court battle over her three children converted to Islam by their father without her knowledge or permission has gained her sympathy over the past seven years.

Some of the support has come from unexpected sources, like Muslim non-governmental organisation Jihad for Justice.

Its chairman Datuk Thasleem Mohd Ibrahim asserts that unilateral conversion of children to Islam is against one of the key principles of the religion, justice, and is therefore “haram” or forbidden.

“I’ve categorically told the Perak Islamic Religious Department that the unilateral conversion of the kids is haram because it’s an injustice,” he told Malay Mail Online in a recent interview.

Thasleem has been a vocal supporter of Indira’s legal right to seek the reversal of her three children’s 2009 unilateral conversion, which had been granted by the High Court in 2010 but cancelled by the Court of Appeal last year. Read more

Why Indira Gandhi’s bid to reverse her children’s conversion matters

Source: The Malay Mail Online

M. Indira Gandhi (second left) is seeking finality over the religious status of her three children who were covertly converted to Islam by her Muslim ex-husband in 2009 without their knowledge. ― Picture by Yiswaree Palansamy

M. Indira Gandhi (second left) is seeking finality over the religious status of her three children who were covertly converted to Islam by her Muslim ex-husband in 2009 without their knowledge. ― Picture by Yiswaree Palansamy

KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 ― Hindu mother M. Indira Gandhi’s bid at the Federal Court today to annul her children’s unilateral conversions is one woman’s ordeal that will have far-reaching effects on Malaysians in a similar dilemma.

In and out of courts for years, Indira is seeking finality over the religious status of her three children who were covertly converted to Islam by her Muslim ex-husband in 2009 without their knowledge or their presence.

“At last, finally once and for all, I can know the status of my children. It’s been dragging for too long,” the Ipoh-based kindergarten teacher told Malay Mail Online when contacted ahead of today’s hearing for leave to appeal. Read more

Federal Court upholds sanctity of court orders ― Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY GURDIAL SINGH NIJAR
(HAKAM Deputy President)

APRIL 29 ― The Federal Court today ordered the IGP to arrest Indira Gandhi’s ex-husband for contempt of court over his refusal to hand custody of their youngest child to her in the high-profile child conversion case.

In a single stroke, the apex Malaysian court has restored confidence in the judicial process and the rule of law.

“He is wilfully disobeying the court order and he still refuses to hand over Prasana Diksa to the appellant. He defended his action when he was found guilty of not obeying the custody order and he appealed to the Federal Court. Read more

Federal Court orders IGP to arrest Indira Gandhi’s ex-spouse for contempt

Source: The Malay Mail Online

M.Indira Gandhi (second left) is all smiles after the Federal Court ruling today which ordered IGP Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar to locate and arrest her Muslim convert ex-husband Mohd Riduan Abdullah for contempt of court. ― Picture by Yiswaree Palansamy

M.Indira Gandhi (second left) is all smiles after the Federal Court ruling today which ordered IGP Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar to locate and arrest her Muslim convert ex-husband Mohd Riduan Abdullah for contempt of court. ― Picture by Yiswaree Palansamy

PUTRAJAYA, April 29 — The Federal Court ordered the national police chief today to arrest M. Indira Gandhi’s ex-husband for contempt of court over his refusal to hand custody of their youngest child to her in the high-profile child conversion case.

The Federal Court also upheld the initial mandamus order issued by the Ipoh High Court to Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, ordering the court to monitor the procedures to track and to arrest Muslim convert Muhammad Riduan Abdullah following today’s decision.

The four-men bench at the apex court today ruled that the committal order against Muhammad Riduan was justified as he has repeatedly failed to produce the couple’s child — Prasana Diksa, now aged seven — in court.

“Pathmanathan despite having exhausted all avenues with regards to the custody order granted by a civil high court, is now willfully disobeying the courts, after his application for leave appeal was rejected by this court, he still refused to hand over Prasana Diksa to the appellant,” Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif, who led the bench, said today in the unanimous decision, referring to Muhammad Riduan by his name at birth.

“When he was found guilty for contempt of court with regards to custody order, he appealed to the Court of Appeal, but when his appeal was struck out, he disappeared together with Prasana Diksa.

“The chronology in this case shows that Pathmanathan has no respect for the court’s order, that he willingly submitted himself to the civil court and due process was accorded to him, but when the case didn’t turn out to be in his favour, decided to disobey the court’s order,” he added. Read more

Minister pledges commitment to end interfaith disputes, says doesn’t want Islam misused

Source: The Malay Mail Online

dewan_rakyat_signpost_2015_-_parliament_reportKUALA LUMPUR, March 9 ― As debate reignites over unilateral child conversions and interfaith custody disputes, Muslim minister Nancy Shukri expressed today her personal commitment to carry out law reforms, saying she does not want her religion misused by individuals for their own ends.

The de facto law minister was responding to a DAP MP who pressed the government on its commitment to a 2009 Cabinet decision that affirmed a child would not be unilaterally converted to another religion when one parent does.

“What has become your worry ― seven years, I am also worried, because this has already become my responsibility here to ensure that we solve this problem.

“And this is not just for politics, because I as a Muslim, I also do not want our religion to be toyed with, don’t want people to misuse religion as an excuse to achieve their desires. So this has become our joint responsibility in this House, so if there are good suggestions, we are ready to carry it,” the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department told Parliament during Question Time. Read more