Muslim convert must first return child to appeal against nullifying religion change, say lawyersA Muslim convert has been told to return his youngest child to his estranged Hindu wife in Perak if he wants to have his day in court this week over a four-year conversion battle to keep his children as Muslims.
M. Indira Gandhi’s lawyer M. Kula Segaran said Muhammad Riduan Abdullah had violated the High Court order of November 2011, in which custody of the couple's three children was awarded to the kindergarten teacher.
Muhammad Riduan has been holding on to Prasana Diksa since April 2009 following his conversion to Islam and separation from Indira Gandhi. The child was 11 months old at the time.
Two other children, Tevi Darsiny, 16, and Karan Dinish, 15, are with their mother. Muhammad Riduan's whereabouts are sketchy although he has been in contact with his lawyers.
This Friday, Muhammad Riduan and the Perak religious authorities will seek a court order to temporarily suspend a High Court ruling which in August quashed the certificate of conversion of the children by the religious authorites.
This means Muhammad Riduan, along with the director of the state Islamic Religious Department and the Registrar of Converts, want the children to remain as Muslims until the Court of Appeal hears and decides on their appeal against the High Court ruling.
The hearing date for the appeal has not been fixed.
"We will impress on the court that Muhammad Ridzuan is not coming with clean hands to seek justice," said Kula Segaran, who is part of the legal team representing Indira Gandhi.
Kula Segaran said Muhammad Ridzuan was disrespectful to the court order, yet wanted the judiciary to give him justice.
A Federal Court ruling should work in favour of Indira Gandhi as the apex court had held that persons in contempt of court would not be heard unless the contempt was purged.
The stay proceedings will be heard before Judicial Commissioner Lee Swee Seng.
Counsel K. Shanmuga, who is also representing Indira Gandhi, said they would argue before the court that a stay could not be given as the kindergarten teacher had obtained a declaratory relief.
"That decision quashed the conversion of her three children to Islam after a long struggle and for now, they remain Hindus," he told The Malaysian Insider.
Lee had in July this year set aside the conversion of Tevi Darsiny, Karan Dinish and Prasana Diksa to Islam, which was done without Indira Gandhi’s knowledge.
He said the conversion was unconstitutional because it was done in the absence of the mother and the children.
Lee said the conversion was unlawful as the Perak Syariah law states that children must be present to utter the Islamic declaration of faith.
The judge had also ruled that the conversion was against the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
Indira Gandhi married Muhammad Riduan, then known as K. Patmanathan, 20 years ago, according to Hindu rites. On March 11, 2009, he converted to Islam. The following month, he converted their children to Islam without Indira's knowledge. The Syariah Court had then granted him custody of his children.
The couple separated and the husband took Prasana Diksa with him. Indira lodged a police report, hoping that the authorities would help locate her daughter, but to no avail. - October 14, 2013.