Hornbill Unleashed

January 30, 2018

Apex court ruling in Indira case gives hope to minorities

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:02 AM

Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian hopes the Federal Court’s ruling that the consent of both parents is needed to convert a minor will put an end to cases of unilateral conversions of minors. — File picture by Sulok TawieThe Federal Court ruling favouring Hindu mother M. Indira Gandhi in the case of the unilateral conversion of her children to Islam has given new hope for minorities to go to court, Sarawak PKR said.

“It is a clear and cogent judgment that will hopefully put an end to cases of unilateral conversions of minors,” Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian said today.

He said the apex court’s decision was also a badly-needed definitive statement on the limits of the powers and the jurisdiction of the Shariah courts.

Baru, who is also the state lawmaker for Ba’Kelalan, said the decision also addresses the dilemma of many in states where there is no express provision in the Shariah Ordinance to decide on certain matters.

He said also that the High Courts have shown reluctance to make those decisions, citing jurisdictional concerns.

“The decision of the apex court that the judicial power vested exclusively in the civil High Courts under Article 121(1) of the Federal Constitution may not be removed from the High Courts and that features in the basic structure of the Constitution cannot be abrogated by Parliament by way of constitutional amendment, therefore, is a most crucial point,” he said.

With this authoritative statement, Baru said there should be no more doubt that judicial power lies firmly in the civil courts.

He added that the court has made it clear that where one party is a non-Muslim, the Shariah court cannot extend its own jurisdiction over that person and the proper forum is the civil courts.

“That is the rational and correct stand,” he said.

Early today, the apex court, in a landmark ruling, declared that the consent of both parents was needed to convert a minor.

The five-judge panel in Indira’s case — who sought to nullify the conversion of her three children by her Muslim convert ex-husband without her consent — said the Federal Constitution clearly provides for the consent of both parents in such cases.

Source : The Malay Mail Online by Sulok Tawie



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