Thursday, July 25, 2013

Court rules unilateral conversion of Indira’s children unlawful

Court rules unilateral conversion of Indira’s children unlawful

First Published: 5:19pm, Jul 25, 2013
Last Updated: 6:41pm, Jul 25, 2013

PETALING JAYA (July 25): The Ipoh High Court today declared the unilateral conversion of kindergarten teacher M Indira Gandhi's three children by her Muslim-convert former husband unlawful.

Ipoh Barat DAP MP M Kulasegaran first broke the news on the judgement in Twitter, saying that the judge had provided "good grounds."

A Hindu devotee Indira, 39, first set out on a legal battle on April 3 in 2009, seeking to annul her children's conversion to Islam by their father which was done without her consent.

Her then-husband K Patmanathan, 40, had converted without her knowledge on March 11, 2009 and had since assumed the name Mohd Ridzuan Abdullah.

Indira's lawyer K Shanmuga told that judicial commissioner Lee Swee Seng quashed the children's conversion to Islam and declared it "null and void" because it was "unconstitutional." 

"The judge said it was a breach of natural justice and was against the Administration of the Religion of Islam (Perak) Enactment 2004," Shanmuga said.

He said the minors who are to be converted must be present at the time of conversion and utter the 'kalimah shahadah' (declaration of faith) to note their willingness to become Muslims.

"In other words, the judge noted that the infant child cannot be converted until the child is old enough to repeat those words," Shanmuga said. 

Mohd Ridzuan had converted the children – Tevi Darsiny, Karan Dinish and Prasana Diksa – who were then aged between one and 12, without them being present and used only their birth certificates. 

Kulasegaran added that in delivering the verdict, which took about 100-minutes, Justice Lee said the conversion went against the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) which Malaysia is a signatory. 

Indira secured custody of her two older children – Tevi Darsiny, Karan Dinish – but her youngest daughter Prasana Diksa is still with Mohd Ridzuan. This was despite a 2009 High Court ruling granting Indira full custody of all three children. 

Shanmuga said that they will be filing a new application to cite Mohd Ridzuan for contempt of the court.

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