Monday, April 14, 2014

Police inaction in child custody fights upsets Kula

2:30PM Apr 13, 2014-Malaysiakini

Police inaction in child custody fights upsets Kula 

DAP national vice chair M Kulasegaran mused today that it may be easier for searchers to find the black box of Flight MH370 than it is for Malaysian politicians to bring finality to the problem of child custody battles in which an estranged spouse converts to Islam.

The MP for Ipoh Barat was commenting on the inaction of police in the case of the battle for the custody of offspring from the dissolved marriage between S Deepa and N Viran, the latest case in a long series of child custody fights between estranged parents in which one converts to Islam.

“At least, we can say despite the arduousness of the task that there is a will to find the black box in the case of the missing plane, but with respect to child custody battles in which an estranged parent converts to Islam, there appears to be no will to find a solution,” said the federal legislator.

Critics have found irksome the stance enunciated by the Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar (left).

In remarks about the Deepa vs Viran battle in which the latter forcibly snatched an offspring whose civil court-ordered custody had been given to the mother, Khalid said the police were unable to intervene because of contending custodial rights.

Khalid said the Syariah Court had granted Viran the rights while the High Court in Ipoh had favored Deepa.

Khalid held that the conflicting orders rendered police action moot and made a settlement between the estranged parents imperative.

“If you employ the principle of the jurisdiction under which the marriage between Deepa and Viran was conducted, you will have contend that it was a civil union and therefore disputes and resolutions must fall under a civil purview,” argued the lawyer-legislator.

“This was precisely what the High Court in Ipoh did and it is grounds for holding that Viran’s action in snatching the child from Deepa’s care is an act of kidnapping,” elaborated Kulasegaran.

“Therefore, the case becomes a criminal one and it is incumbent on the police to act to bring the culprits to book.

“For IGP Khalid to hold that police action is stalled because the Syriah court had decided to grant Viran custody rights is an abdication of responsibility because the force is under a civil purview, not a religious one,” asserted Kulasegaran.

Vexed matter

The DAP leader said that since 2009, the vexed matter of child custody rights in cases where an estranged parent converts to Islam had been raised in Parliament with the will to resolve them waxing and waning like the tides.

“We all know that because of the religious sensitivities involved, this matter continues to languish on a backburner while the anguish felt by victims caught in such child custody wrangles continues unabated,” observed Kulasegaran.

“If government belonged where people in distress cannot help themselves and require such assistance, then government must devise forms of action that are problem-solving,” he said.

“But in child custody battles where one spouse converts to Islam, it looks like the government is opting for callous neutrality as victims languish in hopeless desperation.”

“You can say that the problem is daunting, given the touchiness of the religious issues involved,” commented Kulasegaran.

“If there is no political will to solve the problem, there is no possibility of a solution which means victims will languish and snatchers will continue unrestrained,” he said.

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