The Malaysian Bar is concerned that the case concerning Indira Gandhi and her daughter has yet to meet a resolution, more than 10 years since it began.1
The case has once again arisen in the media, in light of revelations by the Inspector General of Police (“IGP”) stating “I know where he (Indira’s ex-husband) is, so come forward and let’s resolve this, and he can remain in the country where the children will receive complete education. Don’t hide anymore”.2
The case concerned the unilateral conversion of three children that were the product of a civil law marriage, by their father, Muhammad Riduan Abdullah, then a newly-converted Muslim, without the knowledge or consent of Indira Gandhi, the non-converting parent. The Federal Court had in 2018, unanimously ruled that the unilateral conversion of the three children was null and void, holding that the consent of both parents was needed to convert a minor.
Controversy still surrounds the status of the youngest child, Prasana Diksa, who was reported to have been abducted by Muhammad Riduan Abdullah. It is also reported that Indira Gandhi has not had any contact with either her daughter, or her ex-husband. It is in view of these facts, that the revelations by the IGP are startling and warrant immediate action.
It is not for the police in such cases to mediate between the enforcement of the decision of the Federal Court and the parties of the case, or to strive for a “win-win” outcome to the case. It is imperative, within our constitutional scheme, that the various branches of Government, and the agencies that constitute these branches, comply and act in accordance with the pronouncements of such court orders. The separation of powers is designed to be a system of checks and balances. Any act, on the part of any officer, contrary to the pronouncements of the decision of the court, would create chaos and discord in society.
The Malaysian Bar therefore, calls on the IGP to carry out and enforce the pronouncement of the Federal Court in 2018, and to pursue the immediate return of Prasana Diksa to her mother.
Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor
3 February 2020
1 “Why isn’t my daughter with me yet, Indira asks IGP”, Free Malaysia Today, 1 February 2020; “Indira’s lawyers can’t understand IGP’s delay in arresting ex-husband”, Free Malaysia Today, 31 January 2020; “No need to talk about ‘happy endings’, just find Prasana, Indira’s lawyers tells IGP”, The Star Online, 30 January 2020.
2 “IGP: Police know where Riduan is”, New Straits Times Online, 31 January 2020.