Federal Court dismisses convert mum’s bid to reinstate kids’ unilateral conversion

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Citing Indira Gandhi precedent, Federal Court rejects Muslim convert mum’s bid to restore kids’ unilateral conversion.


The Federal Court has dismissed a bid by the Federal Territories Islamic religious department’s (Jawi) muallaf registrar to proceed with its appeal to reinstate the conversion of two children to Islam, done unilaterally by their mother.

Court of Appeal president Rohana Yusuf, who chaired the panel, denied Jawi’s application for leave to appeal after hearing submissions from its lawyer, Sulaiman Abdullah, and the lawyer for the children’s father, K Shanmuga.

“We are of the view that the issue here is settled in M Indira Gandhi’s case.

“With respect to the issue of stare decisis (precedent), we reiterate that it is our stand that the courts should adhere to the doctrine strictly to maintain certainty in law, and we say this is not a fit and proper case to depart from our prior decision,” she said, referring to the 2018 Federal Court ruling that held that the consent of both the mother and father was needed to convert their children.

The court did not make any order on cost.

The other Federal Court judges who sat with Rohana were Nallini Pathmanathan and Zawawi Salleh.

The father had filed a court action in 2016 to quash his daughter and son’s conversion to Islam.

He also sought a declaration that the children’s certificates of conversion were null and void, and that they were unlawfully converted.

He claimed his former wife had converted the children with the intention of obtaining custody of them.

The woman converted to Islam in December 2015 when she and her husband were in the midst of a divorce.

She converted the children at the Federal Territories Islamic religious department in May 2016.

The mother was previously granted the custody of the two children by the Shah Alam High Court but was ordered to surrender their custody to her former husband after another Court of Appeal hearing ruled in favour of the father.

In 2018, the High Court granted the father’s application to nullify the children’s conversion, saying that it is bound by the Federal Court’s ruling.

The appeals court affirmed the High Court’s decision last year. – FMT