Family joy: Indira (right) breaking the good news to her sister M. Vijeyaletchumi (from left), niece S. Shamanee Naidu and 70-year-old mother S. Remgamah in Ipoh.
IPOH: After five years in court, kindergarten teacher M. Indira Gandhi was finally granted her wish to get her youngest child back when her ex-husband was committed for contempt.
The High Court made the decision after Muslim convert Mohd Ridzuan Abdullah repeatedly failed to return the girl to the mother, who has won custody of her and two other siblings.
Despite being excited at the prospect of being reunited with Prasa-na Diksa, who was only 11 months old when she taken away by her father, Indira Gandhi’s heart was still apprehensive about being a stranger to her daughter.
“I am very anxious. I know she will not recognise me, now that she is already six. It breaks my heart but I will not give up.
“I will guide her and lead her towards me,” Indira Gandhi told reporters outside the court here yesterday.
Earlier, Justice Lee Swee Seng, who presided over contempt proceedings filed by Indira Gandhi to compel Mohd Ridzuan to hand over the child, also issued a warrant of arrest against the ex-husband.
“Execution of the warrant order is, however, suspended until the child, Prasana Diksa, is produced at the office of the mother’s solicitors, Kula & Associates.
“The respondent has until noon on June 6 to do so,” Justice Lee said in his close to three-hour judgement.
He also ordered the respondent, formerly known as K. Patmanathan, to pay RM15,000 as cost for proceedings and another RM5,000 as recovery cost.
In April 2009, Mohd Ridzuan took away Prasana Diksa and converted the child and her two siblings – Tevi Darsiny, then 12, and Karan Dinish, then 11 – to Islam without their mother’s knowledge.
The High Court later granted Indira Gandhi full custody of all
three children and on March 11, 2010, Mohd Ridzuan was ordered to return Prasana Diksa to the mother.
At the same time, the Syariah High Court here awarded Mohd Ridzuan custody of all three children.
In his judgment, Justice Lee said Malaysia practised secular law as provided for under the Federal Constitution.
“The civil court has unlimited jurisdiction and is superior in nature to the Syariah court, whose jurisdiction is only limited to Muslims.
“As such, the Syariah High Court has acted outside its jurisdiction when it awarded custody of the children to the ex-husband. The decision is null and void, more so when Indira Gandhi cannot appear in the Syariah Court,” he said.
Justice Lee also said any person who disobeyed the civil court would be in contempt.
“Previously, the police did not act against the husband, perhaps because they were confused due to the competing civil High Court and Syariah Court judgments,” he said.
“This time, the police should not fold their arms and not act on the contempt.”