Friday, October 21, 2011

Ipoh High Court throws out Indira Gandhi's application to transfer case to Federal court

Indira Gandhi case: Ipoh High Court disallows application to transfer case direct to Federal Court.

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

On 11th March 2009, the husband 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 child of the family and went missing. He is still hiding at an undisclosed location

On 9th June 2009, Indira filed a motion at the High Court to quash the decision of the Syariah Court dated 8th 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 1.PENGARAH JABATAN AGAMA ISLAM PERAK 2.PENDAFTAR MUALLAF 3) KERAJAAN NEGRI PERAK 4) KEMENTERIAN PELAJARAN MALAYSIA 5) KERAJAAN MALAYSIA 6) PATMANATHAN A/L KRISHNAN (known as Muhammad Riduan bin Abdullah)

On 28th 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.

As this mater involves questions of great public importance and will affect many, we decided to file an application to transfer this case to the Federal Court. Unfortunately today the Government lawyers and Indiria's husband’ lawyers strenuously objected to our application.

Unfortunately the court has to day delivered the decision disallowing our application to transfer this case to the Federal Court.

A most unfortunate decision which will result in a longer process to dispose off the case. There are many in similar predicament who will now have to endure much hardship and uncertainty by reason of this decision.

Today"s decision means it will take years for the disposal of the case as after a full hearing in the High Court, parties have further opportunity to ventilate the issues further at the Court of Appeal and then to the Federal Court.

We felt to save time and to conclude this matter expeditiously, best if this matter could be referred to the Federal court to adjudicate the following matters of public importance namely;

Questions of law for the determination of the Federal Court

In the case of parents and children of a marriage registered under the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 (“a non Muslim marriage”):

1. Can one parent unilaterally convert a minor child of a non Muslim marriage to Islam without the consent of the other parent?

2. Does the High Court retain its jurisdiction to determine the validity of any such “conversion” even when it has been registered by a Registrar of Muallafs, and to determine all matters concerning the custody care and control of such children?

3. Does the Syariah court have any jurisdiction to make any order in relation to such children where one parent remains a person who does not profess Islam?

4. In the event the High Court and Syariah Court make conflicting orders, which Court’s decision should prevail

In the event the High Court and Syariah Court make conflicting orders, which Court’s decision should prevail?

As the law is unclear on conversion cases, this case has to be brought to the Court to decide on the controversy .

The Government must legislate clear laws to govern cases of conversion. This delay by the Government shows lack of a political will.

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