Friday, June 27, 2014

In new twist, AG seeks to suspend custody orders

5:10PM Jun 26, 2014 ( Malaysiakini)

In new twist, AG seeks to suspend custody orders

Introducing a new twist to the interfaith custody disputes, attorney-general Abdul Gani is seeking to intervene and suspend the custody orders issued by the civil and syariah courts.

This move would also rescue inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar, whose reluctance to enforce a court order to arrest a Muslim convert father could have led to him face contempt charges.

In a statement today, Gani said the intervention is necessary because the two cases have become a "public interest matter" which touches on "religious sensitivity" and has "upset public order".

Apart from this, he added that it has also become a "constitutional issue."

"The department (chambers) will apply to intervene in the proceeding at the Court of Appeal and the High Court and apply for a suspension of both orders by the civil and syariah courts on the police," he said.

Gani said both cases involved constitutional issues regarding the jurisdiction of the syariah and civil courts especially on the interpretation of Article 121 (1A) of the federal constitution.

"The action to be an intervener at the Court of Appeal is taken to ensure there are no rising issues in both cases and that it could be resolved once and for all to ensure justice, peace and harmony.

"Besides this, for purpose of intervening in the proceedings in both cases, the AGC (Attorney-General's Chambers) will consider making an application to the Federal Court for a final decision over the constitutional questions that arise from both cases," he added.

The top prosecutor of the country then related the chronology of both Deepa and Indira’S cases with the latter beginning from 2009.

Conversion null and void

It was previously reported that the police chief was at crossroads over the two custody orders, where the Syariah High Court granted custody to the converted fathers while the civil High Court ordered that the children be placed in the care of their Hindu mothers.

Chief Justice Arifin Zakaria also provided his take on the resolution of interfaith custody disputes but he did not want to divulge details on how it could be done.

Despite the civil courts granting custody of her three children to Indira Gandhi (right in photo), the youngest Prasana Diksa was taken by Muhd Ridhuan when she was an infant in 2009 and is still with the father.

The other two children are with the mother and the Ipoh High Court had also declared the conversion of the three to Islam as null and void, as the conversion by a single parent without the consent of the other is against international norms.

As with the Deepa's case, she has custody of her two children but her former husband N Viran @ Izwan Abdullah had took the couple's youngest son earlier this year.

For the AGC to intervene, it had to seek permission from the High Court before it is allowed to appear and their presence may face objections from various parties, as initially the dispute is between the couple.

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