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Indira: Conversion dispute: Back to square one for Indira

Contributed by Anonymous on Tuesday, May 05 @ 09:05:40 CDT

The Star, May 05 2009, By CLARA CHOOI
IPOH: A High Court here has temporarily held back an earlier decision made by a separate court giving interim custody of three children to their mother M. Indira Gandhi.

Justice Wan Afrah Wan Ibrahim Tuesday granted an ad-interim stay on the order pending the court’s decision this May 14 on the contempt proceeding initiated by Indira Gandhi’s lawyers against her husband, K. Patmanathan. Her counsel Augustine Anthony said the proceeding was raised as Patmanathan had failed to comply with the previous court order by refusing to surrender his youngest daughter, one-year-old Prasana Diksa, to his wife. The matter, heard in chambers, was raised as a preliminary objection in the hearing of Patmanathan’s application to set aside the custody order. Patmanathan, who was not present but was represented by counsel Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdullah, had also applied to the court for a stay of execution on the order. Augustine said Justice Wan Afrah had set May 14 to decide on the contempt proceeding before hearing both of Patmanathan’s applications. Until then, the situation will remain status quo, he told reporters outside the courtroom. Meanwhile, Mohamed Haniff told reporters that during his submission on the contempt proceeding, he had told Justice Wan Afrah that Patmanathan had not committed contempt of court for the latter had already been given custody of his children. He said that Patmanathan, a Muslim convert now known as Mohd Ridzuan Abdullah, had been granted custody by the Syariah Court on April 8. Therefore the argument here now is which custody order should prevail -- the one by the High Court or the Syariah Court. If Mohd Ridzuan complied with the High Court order, he would be in contempt of the Syariah Court order, he said. On April 24, High Court judicial commissioner Ridwan Ibrahim granted interim custody of Tevi Darsiny, 12, Karan Dinish, 11, and Prasana to Indira Gandhi. Despite this, the 34-year-old Indira, who is currently staying with her two older children, had been unable to locate her husband to retrieve her youngest child. She has since been seeking help from the police and the public, by distributing some 5,000 posters of her husband and Prasana across the state.



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