Clarifying the matter: Zulkifli and Azmi (right) talking to reporters outside the Syariah High Court in Seremban.
SEREMBAN: Police have obtained a stay order from the Syariah High Court, which on Oct 7 last year directed them to assist Muslim convert Izwan Abdullah to recover his two young children from his then wife S. Deepa.
Judge Kamal Bashah Ahmad Tajuddin made the decision in chambers after hearing submissions from Zulkifli Che Yong and Azmi Rais, counsel for Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.
Last Thursday, Khalid filed an application at the same court to intervene in the proceedings of the custody case between Izwan, previously known as N. Viran, 31, and his now former wife Deepa, 30.
He had sought a stay in the execution of a Syariah High Court order, which directed the police to extend reasonable assistance to Izwan to locate and recover his children, Nur Nabila Izwan @ V. Sharmila, nine, and Muhammad Nabil Izwan @ V. Mithran, six.
Speaking to reporters outside the court, Zulkifli said the stay order was obtained to allow the Court of Appeal or the Federal Court to decide on the jurisdiction of civil and Syariah courts in custody cases where one parent had embraced Islam.
“We made this ex parte application on behalf of the police as the force has been in a dilemma after being ordered by both the Syariah High Court and the Seremban High Court to assist the disputing parties in the custody case.
“The police are not in anyway getting involved in the decisions of the respective courts but are merely asking for a stay so that the higher courts can, once and for all, decide which parent in similar cases gets custody,” he said, adding that Kamal Bashah had also allowed an application for the police to act as interveners in the dispute.
Zulkifli said police had also asked for a stay as they did not want to be held in contempt for not carrying out the orders of both the courts.
Khalid had also decided against arresting Izwan, who had obtained custody of the children from the Syariah High Court.
He said police were unable to do so because Section 121A of the Federal Constitution stipulates that both civil and Syariah courts were equal in law.
The Attorney-General had also on June 26 filed a similar application for a stay order against the Seremban High Court decision, which in April awarded custody of both children to Deepa.