PUTRAJAYA: A unilateral conversion dispute appeal involving two minors born to a woman who embraced Islam and her Buddhist former husband was postponed after one of the judges recused himself as he knew the couple.
Court of Appeal judge Wazeer Alam Mydin Meera volunteered the information at the outset of today’s proceeding that has been adjourned four times since 2019.
Bench chairman Lau Bee Lan then fixed the hearing for June 29. The other judge is Mohd Sofian Abdul Razak.
Previously, on June 25, 2019, this appeal had also been adjourned when judge Mary Lim Thian Suan disqualified herself as she was involved in one of the related cases in the dispute.
The mother and the Federal Territories Registrar of Muslim Converts (Muallaf) are appealing the Oct 16, 2018 High Court ruling allowing the judicial review of the non-Muslim father to revoke the conversion of his children to Islam.
Then High Court judge Azizah Nawawi said she was bound by the ruling in the M Indira Gandhi v Perak Registrar of Muallafs case delivered by a five-member Federal Court bench on Jan 29, 2018.
Indira, a Hindu mother, had filed a similar judicial review application to challenge her Muslim convert former husband’s unilateral conversion of their three children – then aged 11, 10 and just over 11 months old – to Islam without the knowledge and consent of either her or the children.
In the present case, the husband went to court to invalidate the 2016 unilateral conversion to Islam and certificates of conversion of his children, who were born in a civil marriage when his wife was a Buddhist.
The children, now aged seven and 12, were converted without the father’s knowledge and consent.
That was also the day that he filed a fresh application to divorce his wife at the Shah Alam High Court.
The identities of all parties are being kept confidential as the father, represented by K Shanmuga and Honey Tan, obtained a court order in 2018.
Lawyers Nizam Bashir and Sulaiman Abdullah represented Muallaf in the appeal while Arham Rahimy Hariri appeared for the mother.
Senior federal counsel Rosli Ahmad and Siti Asmath Che Man appeared for the federal government, the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) director-general and the education ministry director-general as respondents.