Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail
PETALING JAYA: The Attorney-General Chambers will apply to intervene in two child custody cases – in Seremban and Ipoh – where parents were given rights to their children by both the Syariah and civil courts.
The A-G Chambers is also applying to get a stay of execution on orders issued by both civil and Syariah High Courts for the police to locate the children involved in the custody tussle.
Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail said the cases were of public interest which touched on religious sensitivities and could threaten public order.
Abdul Gani said the cases raised constitutional questions on the jurisdiction of Syariah and civil courts especially on the interpretation of Article 121 (1A) of the Federal Constitution, which stipulates that civil courts have no jurisdiction over any matter within the purview of Syariah courts.
“In view of this, the A-G Chambers will apply to become an intervener in the proceedings of both cases in the Court of Appeal and in the Seremban Syariah High Court.
“This is to ensure that issues raised in both cases can be disposed of once and for all, fairly, peacefully and harmoniously, in accordance with the Federal Constitution and the law,” he said.
Abdul Gani said the A-G Chambers was also considering an application to the Federal Court to obtain a final decision in relation to constitutional questions that arose from the two cases.
On Sept 19 last year, the Seremban Syariah High Court granted custody of Nur Nabila Izwan @ V. Sharmila, eight, and Muhammad Nabil Izwan @ V. Mithran, five, to Muslim convert Izwan Abdullah (N. Viran). On Oct 7, the same court directed the police to assist the father in getting the children.
The Seremban High Court on April 7 this year gave custody of the children to the mother, S. Deepa.
On May 21, the same court that had ordered for the son to be returned to Deepa, gave authority to the police to assist her in getting the child back.
The second controversial custody tussle involved M. Indira Gandhi and Mohamad Riduan Abdullah @ K. Pathmanathan in Perak where the Ipoh Syariah High Court had on Sept 29, 2009, granted custody of the couple’s three children to the father who had converted to Islam.
However, the Ipoh High Court on March 11, 2010, allowed the children to be under the care of Indira with once-a-week access given to the father.
The same court on May 30 this year ordered the police to get one of the two daughters – Prasana Diksa (Umu Habibah) – from Mohamad Riduan to be handed over to his former wife.