Sunday, January 3, 2016

IRF: Appellate court dodging responsibility in Indira's case

Geraldine Tong

The Court of Appeal was merely absolving themselves from responsibility when they decided to hand over jurisdiction of M Indira Gandhi's case to the syariah courts, said Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) director Ahmad Farouk Musa.

"By pushing the ball back to the syariah courts, they are saying they absolve themselves from being drawn into this battle," he told Malaysiakini today.

Ahmad Farouk added that he is very sad with the court's decision because it seems like they "do not have the spine" to stand up for what is impartial and just.

Indira is a Hindu mother who is fighting to gain custody of her three children who were unilaterally converted to Islam by her now Muslim ex-husband.

In a Dec 30 decision, the three-man bench headed by Justice Balia Yusof Wahi ruled in a majority decision that the Ipoh High Court did not have thejurisdiction to hear the case.

"The majority view this court is taking (is that) ... it is beyond a shadow of a doubt, whether or not a person is Muslim, (the case) falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of the syariah court.

"The validity of the conversion is also the exclusive jurisdiction of the syariah court," Justice Balia said in his judgment.

Earlier, Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) legal and campaign coordinator Melissa Sasidaran had pointed out that Indira would not be able to obtain justice due to the fact that the syariah court has no jurisdiction over a non-Muslim.

Farouk said this is why the government must come up with a long-term solution to prevent similar situations from cropping up in the future.

"Something must be done to solve this kind of problem in the future once and for all.

"How could they get a fair trial if their case cannot be heard (in the syariah courts) because they're non-Muslim?" he questioned.

The solution must also be amicable enough to not cause any tensions between the races and religions, he added.

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