Wednesday, March 30, 2011

AG where are the promised amendments to bring a finality to conversion cases?

Attorney General and the Government should explain why the delay in presenting the necessary amendments to Parliament in conversion cases.

Indira Ghandhi married her husband Patmanathan in 1993 according to Hindu rites. They have 3 children.

The eldest child is now 14 years old the second, a boy, is 13 years old and the youngest is 2+ years old Indria and her husband started to have marital problems for sometime.

As a result on 11th March 2009, he converted to Islam and adopted his new name as Muhammad Riduan Bin Abdullah

On 2nd April 2009; three children of the family were also converted into Islam by their father Patmanathan at the Bahagian Dakwah, Jabatan Agama Islam, Ipoh, Perak.

The conversion was without the knowledge and or consent of the children's mother.

There after the family got separated and the husband took the youngest t child of the family and went missing. He is still hiding at an undisclosed location.

In the mean time Muhammad Riduan Bin Abdullah filed an application at the Syariah High Court in Ipoh and obtained an interim order of custody of the 3 children. Indira had no knowledge of this case.

Subsequently she filed an application and after numerous hearings, the Ipoh Civil High Court gave order of custody on May2010. The case is pending appeal to the Court of Appeal by the husband.

He has not adhered to the Court’s order in that the youngest child has not been handed over to Indira.

The husband has no permanent employment and has been willfully avoiding in handing over of the youngest child to the mother. The two elder children are schooling and living with the mother who works as a kindergarten teacher.

On 9th June 2009, Indira filed a motion at the High Court to quash the decision of the Syariah Court dated 8

th April2009 which Court had given custody and control of the 3 children to Muhammad Riduan Bin Abdullah. The case has been filed against 6 Defendants namely


(known as Muhammad Riduan bin Abdullah)On 28

th July2010, the Ipoh Civil High Court gave leave to quash the decision of the Syariah Court to Indira notwithstanding to the strenuous objections from the Attorney General‘s office.

To day the High Court is to hear the application to quash the Syariah Court‘s decision.

The panel of Lawyers ( Mr. K.Shanmuga, En.FahriAzzat, N.Selvam, and M.Kula ) of Indira feels that Indira's case is very much similar to the famous case of Shamala Vs Dr Jayaganesh.

As serious, fundamental and public importance issues are involved the case ought to be transferred and heard in the Federal Court.

In April 2009, it was reported that the Cabinet has decided that children of parents where one of them opts to convert must be raised in the common religion at the time of marriage.

The news report dated 24 thApril, 2009 says: -

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri said it was decided in the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday that a spouse who has converted into Islam would also have to fulfil his or her marriage responsibilities according to civil marriage laws.

“Religion should not be used as a tool to escape marriage responsibilities. Conversion is not a ground for the automatic dissolution of a marriage,” he said at a press conference at Parliament building Thursday.

“The children should be brought up in the common religion. For the spouse who intends to convert into Islam, he or she would also have to come clean,” he said.

Nazri said religious conversion must come with the innocent party being protected from being victimised, as well as protection being affored to the new religion of the converted person.

“Civil marriages have to be resolved according to civil laws. The conversion takes effect on the day of conversion and is not retrospective. “The convert would have to fulfil his or her marriage responsibilities according to civil laws prior to the conversion,” he added.

Nazri also said the Cabinet has instructed the Attorney-General to look at all relevant laws which needed to be amended in line with what has been decided on civil marriage laws and others.

The Attorney General and the Government should explain why there has been such long delay in doing what is necessary?


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