To kindergarten teacher M. Indira Gandhi, uniting with her child now seems a herculean task. She has been fighting an uphill battle since 2009, when custody of her three children were first given to her former husband Mohammad Ridzuan by a shariah court ruling.
The shariah court’s decision was, however, overturned by High Court Judge Datuk Wan Afrah Wan Ibrahim in March, 2010 and custody was returned to Indira.
Ridzuan handed over the two elder children but not six-year-old Prasana Diksa. Indira filed contempt proceedings against Ridzuan for failing to comply with the high court’s decision. The Ipoh High Court, in a judgement on Friday, May 30, cited Ridzuan for contempt and issued a warrant for his arrest.
Execution of the arrest warrant was suspended until Prasana Diksa was produced at the office Indira’s lawyer, S. Kulasegeran. The child was never produced even after the court’s one-week grace period ended at noon on Friday, June 6.
The police failed to carry out the order giving several excuses why they could not. Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar even suggested that the child be placed in a government welfare home so both parents could visit the child, as and when it was necessary.
During a press conference held at the Perak Women for Women Society office at Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, Ipoh on Wednesday, June 11, S. Sumathi, the society’s vice president lamented at the Police’s inaction and insensitivity. The IGP, she said, should not dwell on matters of jurisdiction, as the civil court is superior to shariah court.
“Obviously, Khalid is overstepping his boundaries. It’s not within his powers to make decisions arbitrarily. Let the court decide and make pronouncements,” exclaimed Sumathi who is a lawyer by profession.
In April 2009, Mohd Ridzuan had taken away Prasana Diksa (then 11 months old and still breast-feeding) and converted the child and her two siblings, Tevi Darsiny (then 12) and Karan Dinish (then 11) to Islam.
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.
Mohd Ridzuan repeatedly failed to appear in court as well as to produce the child despite repeated orders by the court to do so, prompting Indira Gandhi to file contempt proceedings against her ex-husband.
Indira awaits the court’s moves before contemplating her next action.