Judge to meet boy in custody battle

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 13 Jan 2004

KUALA LUMPUR: A High Court judge will meet an 11-year-old boy who is caught in a custody battle between his natural parents and adoptive mother, who had undergone a sex-change operation, before making a decision. 

Justice Md Raus Sharif has also agreed to meet both sets of parents on Jan 20. 

Earlier, counsel for the adoptive mother Gobind Singh Deo submitted that it was not in dispute that the second appellant was born a male. 

“She had a sex change operation 18 years ago and is now recognised as a woman through her identity card. She was married to the first appellant on Aug 8, 1990.  

“We are now living in times where sex-change operations are common. A person should be free to decide his or her own sexual preference and this decision must be respected as under the Federal Constitution, all persons are equal and deserve equal protection of the law,” he said. 

The boy is still living with his adoptive parents although their adoption petition was thrown out by a Sessions Court in 1998.  

The adoptive parents who have been looking after him for the past nine years may lose the boy because his mother has come forward to claim custody.  

They tried to legally adopt him in 1996, soon after his father gave him to them but the court rejected the adoption petition then because his mother had not given her consent. 

Gobind Singh Deo said another reason why the mother should not be given custody of the boy was because the natural parents did not have a good relationship. 

However lawyer Yasmeen Sharif, who was assigned by the Bar Council Legal Aid Centre to represent the mother, said although the 30-year-old woman was forced to leave her matrimonial home, she managed to take care of her other children by working as a maid. 

“She tried to work to take care of her children. It is not she who gave away the child but her husband,” she said.  

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