Mother gets custody of children in Muslim convert case

(Bernama) – A kindergarten teacher will have custody over her three children who were converted to Islam by her Muslim-convert former husband.

This is because Muhammad Ridzuan Abdullah, or K. Patmanathan as he was known before conversion, has lost his chance to appeal to the Federal Court the decision of an Ipoh High Court which granted custody of the children to M. Indira Gandhi.

A five-member panel led by Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria dismissed Muhammad Ridzuan’s application for leave to appeal.

Ridzuan, 43, had sought leave to appeal to the Federal Court as his appeal to set aside the High Court’s decision was thrown out by the Court of Appeal on April 17 this year following failure by his previous lawyer to file the records of appeal on time.

The Court of Appeal had struck out his (Muhammad Ridzuan’s) appeal against the decision of the High Court granting custody to Indira, after it (the Court of Appeal) refused to grant him extension of time to file in the records of appeal.

Muhammad Ridzuan filed his notice of appeal on March 11, 2010 and was required to file in the records of appeal within eight weeks from the filing of the notice of appeal but his previous lawyer did not do so. The records of appeal were filed a year later.

Justice Arifin also ordered Muhammad Ridzuan to pay RM10,000 in legal costs.

The other judges on the panel were Federal Court judges Datuk Hashim Yusoff, Datuk Ahmad Maarop, Datuk Hasan Lah and Datuk Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha.

On March 11, 2010, the Ipoh High Court granted Indira the custody of Tevi Darsiny (Ummu Salamah), 15, Karan Dinish (Abu Bakar), 14 and Prasana Diksa (Ummu Habibah), four, but allowed Ridzuan to visit his children once a week.

The court ordered that Prasana Diksa, who was with Ridzuan, be returned to Indira while the other two children, who were with Indira, remain in the 37-year old mother’s (Indira) custody.

Ridzuan embraced Islam in April 2009 and subsequently converted his children to Islam without Indira’s consent.

On April 24, the same year, Indira obtained an interim custody order from the Ipoh High Court for temporary custody of her children.

On October 29 the same year, Ridzuan, who was represented by lawyer Anas Fauzi, obtained a court order from the Syariah Court giving him custody of the children.

Lawyer K.Shanmuga, one of the lawyers in Indira’s legal team, told reporters that the Ipoh High Court would mention tomorrow Indira’s judicial review application to quash the conversion certificate.

He added that contempt proceedings against Ridzuan would be initiated for not adhering the High Court order to return Prasana Diksa to the mother.