Muslim father defies High Court order to hand over child to ex-wife
BY V. ANBALAGAN, ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR
Published: 6 June 2014 | Updated: 6 June 2014 2:13 PM
The Malaysian Insider
Muslim convert Muhammad Ridzuan Abdullah has failed to honour a High Court order to return his infant daughter to his Hindu ex-wife as the noon deadline ended.
Kindergarten teacher M. Indira Gandhi waited eagerly at her lawyer's office in Ipoh, hoping Ridzuan would turn up with Prasana Diksa.
"We will now proceed to do what is required under the law," her counsel M. Kulasegaran told The Malaysian Insider.
On May 30, judge Lee Swee Seng found Ridzuan guilty of contempt and gave him until noon today to hand over his daughter to Indira Gandhi or face imprisonment.
Kulasegaran said Ridzuan's lawyer Anas Faizal came to his office to inform him that the child was with the father in Kota Baru, Kelantan.
He also produced two photographs taken together with the child and the father.
Anas told Kulasegaran that Ridzuan was under stress after the court ordered him to return the child because of the short notice.
"But we got the custody order in 2010 and the police must act to arrest him," Kulasegaran said.
Lee, who granted Indira a recovery order, had also instructed the police to help locate Ridzuan and Prasana Diksa whose whereabouts were then unknown.
Disappointed at not being reunited with her daughter, Indira today lodged a report to force the police to take action.
Last year, Indira filed contempt proceedings against Ridzuan, who was previously known as K. Patmanathan, for refusing to hand over their daughter.
In 2010, High Court judge Datuk Wan Afrah Wan Ibrahim ordered custody of the three children – Tevi Darsiny, 16, Karan Dinish, 15, and Prasana Diksa, 3 – to be given to Indira.
However, Ridzuan refused to return Prasana Diksa (now known as Ummu Habibah) to Indira.
He has held on to Prasana Diksa since April 2009 when she was 11 months old.
The Shariah High Court in Ipoh had in 2009 given Ridzuan custody of the three children after he unilaterally converted the children.
On July 25, 2013, Lee, in a landmark decision, quashed the certificates of conversion of the three children and ruled that the certificates were null and void because they were unconstitutional.
Under the Perak state enactment, it is a statutory requirement for a child to be present before a certificate of conversion can be issued.
He also cited provisions under the Perak Shariah law where the children must be present to utter the affirmation of faith (Dua Kalimah Syahadah).
Lee last week also declared as null and void the custody order issued by the Shariah High Court.
He said it was the High Court that has supervisory powers over Shariah courts, which had only limited jurisdiction.
"The religious court is an inferior court and its powers and jurisdiction are limited by state enactments," he said.
Lee said the shariah court had no jurisdiction to grant custody orders as the other party (Indira) was not a Muslim.
"The shariah court is inherently incompetent to deal with the custody order. A child is a product of the marriage of husband and wife, so no custody order can be given by a court of law when the wife is not heard," he said.
Lee said Ridzuan could not depend on a Shariah High Court order as an excuse to not comply with the High Court order. – June 6, 2014.