PUTRAJAYA: It has taken nine long years, but M. Indira Gandhi's legal tussle has finally come to an end as the Federal Court ruled in her favour, nullifying the unilateral conversion of her three children to Islam by her ex-husband.
Tears of joy ran down her cheek when the judgment was read, but a void remains as Indira was unable to celebrate the news with her youngest child, now aged nine.
“My daughter is still missing. I want to see her. I really need to hold her. It has been nine years. When is she going to come back?” she told reporters after the Apex Court delivered its verdict here Monday.
“Even though we have won this case, she is not here. My two elder children are still waiting to hear the news,” she said, adding that Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Haron could now act and locate her daughter.
It was reported that her youngest daughter was taken away by her ex-husband K. Padmanathan – who later changed his name to Muhammad Riduan Abdullah – when she was just 11 months old.
Riduan was nowhere to be seen at the court Monday.
The Federal Court on April 29, 2016 had ordered the Inspector-General of Police to execute a warrant of arrest for Riduan, who had disobeyed the Ipoh High Court's order to return Prasana to her mother after granting Indira full custody of her children.
Meanwhile, Indira's lawyer M. Kulasegaran said the landmark decision now specifically spells out that civil courts can hear such matters even if there is a contradictory Syariah court decision.
“This is for a lot of people where (unilateral) conversion has taken place. They can come to the civil court now,” he said.
Kulasegaran added that the decision was timely.
“It has not been an easy task, but we are very happy.
“I urge Malaysians in similar predicaments to take the issue up in court,” he said.
The Indira saga to conclude today
Indira arrives at court for decision on unilateral conversion case
Federal Court: Unilateral conversion of Indira Gandhi's 3 children is null and void (updated)