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One-eyed justice delivered in Indira Gandhi case

January 4, 2016

How is it that "children under the care of a Hindu mother, married and birthed as Hindus,” become a Muslim/Syariah matter because their father acted irresponsibly?

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kes-Indira-Gandhi-,Muhd-Ridhuan-Abdullah

By K J John

In the current global concept of Justice, there is the allegorical Blind Lady of Justice who constituted the basis and content of the American Statute of Liberty! From Wikipedia:

Since the 15th century, Lady Justice has often been depicted wearing a blindfold. The blindfold represents objectivity, in that justice is or should be meted out objectively, without fear or favour, regardless of money, wealth, power, or identity; blind justice and impartiality

The earliest Roman coins depicted Justitia with the sword in one hand and the scale in the other, but with her eyes uncovered. Justitia was only commonly represented as “blind” since about the end of the 15th century.

The first known representation of blind Justice is Hans Gieng‘s 1543 statue on the Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen (Fountain of Justice) in Berne

Malaysian Justice

I call Malaysian Justice, from two well-known cases, one-eyed justice. The “less than wise judges,” allowed their skewed eyes of emotion to open one eye through their judgments. I have written much about the Lina Joy case, who lost her Malaysian citizenship because of her decision to “convert based on personal belief”. She was forced to migrate to Australia after the Federal Court decided that her “faith cannot be changed on her identity card!” She had to default her citizenship because of her faith! My first book, “Alamak: All in God’ name!” addresses this set of issues.

Allow me to now make my thesis about such one-eyed justice in Malaysia. There is freedom of faith within Islam, by interpretation of the teaching that there is “no compulsion in religion”. Lina Joy actually converted out of her faith, and went through legal process as required by law. But, after she failed in legal process, she had no choice but to leave for good as her Identity Card would forever declare she was/is a Muslim.

Let us now consider the more recent Indira Gandhi case. The facts of the case are simplified as below:

  • The couple got married as Hindus.
  • The couple had children as Hindus.
  • The couple divorced as Hindus.
  • The husband converts to Islam.
  • The husband converts all three Hindu children to Islam (all are below 18).
  • The Ipoh Civil High Court rules that the conversion of children was illegal.
  • The Civil Appeal Court rules that only Syariah Court can allow a change of faith out of Islam.

I have therefore some very basic and common sense questions about the Islamic concept of marriage. I am no lawyer either. Let us ponder these questions together as ordinary citizens who ask questions and challenge paradigms:

Were not the couple married as Hindus? So, is that not a condition precedent to the status of husband, wife and children; therefore why did the Syariah Court even hear his case, when his two children and wife could never have been Muslims? Premised and conditioned upon the High Court judgment, which recognised and respected the Interpretation of Laws Act that recognises that “parents” can mean either parent, why was one parent given privilege over the other? One-eyed justice? Therefore, does it also mean that under Syariah Law, Islamic jurisprudence is equally one-eyed and does not respect or honour the rights of the non-Muslim wife; or, worse still, does not even recognise any rights for her as a human being in their concept of the original marriage, the product of which are all three children? Are women not recognised within Islam? In Old Testament Judaic culture and jurisprudence, women were not recognised as equal members. They were treated the same as foreigners and animals; both were regarded as property.

Civil Court Judges sworn to uphold Constitution

Article 124 of the Federal Constitution requires the Chief Justice, the President of the Appeal Court, Chief Judge of the High Court, higher court justice and judicial commissioners to take the Oath of Office and Allegiance as follows:

I, (name), having been elected/appointed to the office of (office) do solemnly swear/affirm that I will faithfully discharge my judicial duties in that office to the best of my ability, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to Malaysia and will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.

Where does it say that the person’s faith and personal convictions can influence or define their judgment? Why is a case of such public concern, and which involves a Hindu mother and children, heard entirely by an Appeal Court made up of Muslim Judges who forget that their oath of office is to “preserve, protect and defend only the Constitution”?

Why does each Higher Court Judge create a kind of false equality, which is not truly and equally given by Article 121 (1A) that was made to create avenues to address serious family and personal matters under the jurisdiction of Syariah Matters?

Where and how does “the children under the care of a Hindu mother, married and birthed as Hindus,” become a Muslim/Syariah matter only because of an irresponsible father, who wanted to surreptitiously ‘convert the children’ with the compliance of a subsidiary court under the Federal Constitution?

Which provisions of the Federal Constitution allows the Syariah Court to hear such cases of non-Muslims? Are the idiocratic Majority Judges actually saying that there were no provision under the Federal Constitution wherein the rights of faith of these children and their mother are ignored by the Constitution? My question to the Judges is which version of the Federal Constitution did you agree to protect and preserve? The Arabic version, perhaps?

May GOD bless Malaysians and help them get out of this quandary of poor Judges and one-eyed ones!

KJ John is an FMT reader.

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