Hornbill Unleashed

January 30, 2018

Masing hails Federal Court’s nullification of conversion

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

Image result for conversion of Indira Gandhi’s childrenThe nullification of conversion of Indira Gandhi’s children to Islam by their Muslim convert father is the best thing that could ever happen in a multi-racial and multi-religious country like Malaysia.

A child is administered and loved by a mother and a father. Therefore, it is only right that both parents must have equal say in their children’s religious affiliation.

To assume otherwise is gender-biased and unhealthy, said Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing yesterday.

He was referring to a case where a mother felt it was not right for her Muslim convert ex-husband to effect conversion of their children without her consent. The case went to court which ruled in her favour.

When contacted yesterday, Borneo Indigenous People’s Pact representative Peter John Jaban said he hoped such case would not spill over to Sabah and Sarawak because it would not only bring anxiety and fear to members of the families affected but also to the whole Dayak community, describing the case as both socially and politically sensitive.

The unilateral conversion of Hindu mother M. Indira Gandhi’s three children was unanimously voided and set aside by the Federal Court in Putrajaya yesterday.

The five-member panel led by Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin ruled that the conversion of the children, made unilaterally by her Muslim convert ex-husband in 2009, must be ‘set aside’.

The apex court also held that the conversion of non-Muslim children must get the consent of both parents, according to national news agency Bernama.

Justice Tan Sri Zainun Ali, who delivered the court’s judgment, noted that the certificate of conversion of Indira Gandhi’s three children was issued without her consent and thus contravened the Federal Constitution and the Guardianship and Infants Act 1961.

“We find that the Registrar of Muallaf had no jurisdiction to issue the certificates of conversion in respect of the conversion of the children to Islam due to non-compliance of sections 96 and sections 106 (b) of the Administration of the Religion of Islam (Perak) Enactment 2004,” she was quoted as saying by Bernama.

Section 96 states that a person must on their own will apply for conversion and utter the two clauses of Affirmation of Faith in Islam (Dua Kalimah Syahadah) while Section 106 states that a person who has not attained the age of 18 years must get their parents or guardian’s consent in writing for his or her conversion.

The 99-page judgment was read out in summary by Zainun, after the Federal Court deliberated over Indira’s application for 14 months. Besides Zulkefli and Zainun, other Federal Court judges in the bench were Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, Tan Sri Abu Samah Nordin and Tan Sri Ramly Ali.

Zainun further said the Civil Court has jurisdiction to hear Indira Gandhi’s matter as “the subject matter was not concerned with the status of her children as Muslim converts or with the questions of Islamic personal law and practice but on the legality of constitutionality of administrative action taken by the Registrar of Muallaf”.

The court allowed Indira Gandhi’s appeal to set aside the appellate court’s majority decision and restored the Ipoh High Court decision which nullified her children’s conversion certificates.

On Dec 30, 2015, the Court of Appeal reinstated the children’s conversion certificates after ruling that the civil High Court did not have jurisdiction to decide on the validity of children’s conversion which was under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Syariah Court.

The children, two girls and a boy, now aged 20, 19, and nine years old were converted to Islam by their father Muhammad Riduan Abdullah, (formerly known as K. Pathmanathan), 47, in April 2009 without Indira Gandhi’s consent after his conversion to Islam.

The children were then aged 12 and 11 years, and 11 months. The youngest daughter is with Muhammad Riduan while the two elder children are with their mother.

Meanwhile, Indira Gandhi when met after the apex court ruling said: “I want to hold my child (that was) snatched from me.”

She was referring to her youngest daughter who is now with Muhammad Riduan.

Source : The Borneo Post Online by Churchill Edward



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