The lawyers’ group said the case of M. Indira Gandhi showed that non-Muslim parents in similar predicaments have no recourse to justice.
The Court of Appeal, in a majority ruling on Wednesday, held that the validity of conversion of Indira’s three children by their Muslim father Muhammad Riduan Abdullah could only be determined by the Shariah Court.
“This is clearly preposterous as Indira will not be able to obtain justice due to the simple fact that the Shariah Court has no jurisdiction over a non-Muslim.
Sasidaran said the Cabinet had reportedly issued a directive in 2009 banning unilateral conversion of children.
It announced that in the event of any dispute, a child must be raised in the faith professed by parents at the time of marriage, she said.
“We call upon the government to urgently amend the relevant laws to resolve and provide a permanent and just solution to end the unconstitutional unilateral conversion of children to any religion,” she said.
The appellate court also reversed the Ipoh High Court’s order quashing the children’s conversion to Islam.
The three-man bench, headed by judge Datuk Balia Yusof Wahi, said the conversion must be decided by the religious court.
On July 25, 2013, then High Court judge Lee Swee Seng held the conversion certificates of the children – Tevi Darsiny, Karan Dinish and Prasana Diksa – were null and void.
Lee cited provisions under Perak Shariah law which state that the children must be present to utter the affirmation of faith or the “syahadah”.
He said the Perak state enactment required a child to be present before a certificate of conversion could be issued.
The appellate court said Tevi Darsiny could now determine her religious status because she was 18 years of age. – January 3, 2016.