Putrajaya, February 8: The Federal Court in Putrajaya, Malaysia taking a historic decision on 28th January of this year had ruled that the unilateral conversion of M. Indira Gandhi’s three children to Islam is null and void.
Notably, a kindergarten teacher by profession M. Indira Gandhi challenged the conversion of her three children to Islam by her ex-husband Muhammad Riduan Abdullah nine years ago in the Federal Court in Putrajaya. The phrase ‘Better correct than late’ suits to this case as after 9 years Indira Gandhi got justice as the Apex Court nullified the conversion of her three children, Tevi Darshiny, 20, Karan Dinesh, 18 and Prasana Diksa, 8.
The apex court’s five-man bench, comprising Court of Appeal president Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjum, Zainun Ali, Abu Samah Nordin and Ramly Ali, delivered the historic judgment. The Court of Appeal president Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin who chaired the five-man panel, said their decision was unanimous.
Reading out the summary of the 99-page judgment, Justice Zainun said consent of both parents must be sought and the Article 12 (4) that stated the word “parent” should not be construed literally. “It must require the consent of both parents. Custody of the children, appellant, has dominant influence in their lives. Serious interference in their lives would be a very wrong thing,” he said, “The word ‘parent’ is a case of being lost in translation. Both parents have equal rights,” she added.
Article 12(4) of the Federal Constitution says that the religion of a person under the age of 18 years shall be decided by his or her parent or guardian.
The video posted by ‘The Star TV.com’ has the exclusive footage of M. Indira Gandhi and lawyer who thanked Federal Court for taking the landmark decision to nullify the conversion of her three children to Islam by her ex-husband, Muhammad Riduan Abdullah.
Earlier, On Dec 30, 2015, the Court of Appeal reversed the quashing of Indira Gandhi's children Prasana Diksa and Karan Dinesh's certificates of conversion, but made no ruling as to Tevi Darshiny, as she was already above 18 years old. In a 2-1 majority decision then, the panel ruled the children's conversion was under the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court.
On July 25, 2013, the Ipoh High Court quashed the three children's certificates of conversion, declaring it null and void. The panel reserved its judgment on Nov 30, 2016. On April 29, 2016, the Federal Court had ordered the Inspector-General of Police to execute a warrant of arrest for Riduan, who disobeyed the Ipoh High Court's order to return Prasana to her mother after it granted Indira full custody of her children.
On March 11, 2009, M. Indira Gandhi’s husband K. Pathmanthan converted to Islam, taking the name Muhammad Riduan Abdullah. On March 31, 2009, K. Pathmanthan left home with youngest child Prasana Diksa. Riduan unilaterally converted three children to Islam.