Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hindu mother allowed to challenge kids' conversion

The Ipoh High Court has finally granted leave to M Indira Ghandi to seek a judicial review over the certificates of conversion of her three children issued by the Perak Muallaf (Converts) Registrar.

A decision on the application had been postponed three times, as Justice Zainal Adzam Abdul Ghani wanted to accommodate the Federal Court decision on S Shamala's case, which is similar in nature.

In chambers today, Justice Zainal Adzam asked Indira Ghandi's lawyer M Kulasegaran if he wanted to wait for the outcome of Shamala's case, to which the reply was in the negative.

The judge then ruled that Indira Ghandi now has 14 days to file a full application.

Speaking to reporters later, Kulasegaran commended the judge for a “fantastic and unique” decision.

“We will be putting in all the written submissions by next week and the judge will then decide on the matter,” he said.

Kulasegaran (left) said his client wants to proceed with the case immediately because it has been dragging on for more than a year.

Indira Ghandi, 35, had filed an application for leave to quash the certificates of conversion to Islam of her three children - daughter Tevidarsiny, 13, son Karan Dinish, 12, and daughter Prasana Diksa, two.

She named the Perak Muallaf Registrar, Perak religious department director, both the state and federal governments, the Education Ministry and her husband as respondents.

Indira Ghandi's three children were converted to Islam by her estranged husband Mohd Riduan Abdullah @ K Pathmanathan in April last year without her consent or knowledge.

Following this, Indira Ghandi succeeded in securing custody of the three children at the Ipoh High Court, but Mohd Riduan refused to surrender their youngest daughter after failing to obtain a stay order. He is believed to be in hiding in Kelantan.

Indira Ghandi's case mirrors that of Shamala, whose children were converted to Islam eight years ago by her husband after he converted to Islam.

The five-member Federal Court panel led by Chief Justice Zaki Azmi has been sitting on the matter since May 3.

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