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Interfaith custody dispute settled

05/05/2016

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I welcome the Federal Court’s decision on Indira Ghandi case, it affirms that only the civil court has jurisdiction over custody cases in a civil marriage, even if one party later converts to Islam.

That is to say, it is only when the syariah court pronounces Islamic divorce on an Islamic marriage, then it can make orders on custody. The Federal Constitution clearly spells out that the syariah court only has jurisdiction over Muslims.

As such, there interests of all parties are safeguarded and hopefully, this long-standing chapter of interfaith custody can now be closed.

The decision also meant that the controversial Article 121 (1A) of the Federal Constitution, which gives the impression that both the civil and syariah courts have equal but separate powers and seems to suggest both the courts’ orders are valid, is now settled.

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