KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 – The High Court has given the Inspector-General of Police seven days to locate Prasana Diksa and return the girl to her mother, M. Indira Gandhi, who is embroiled in a custody battle with her ex-husband. Judge Lee Swee Seng, who allowed Indira’s mandamus application, said Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar must set aside his personal opinion and enforce the law. “The police have the means and apparatus to locate the child,” the judge said. The IGP had previously refused to enforce the civil’s court’s order to locate the child because of a shariah court order awarding custody of the girl to the father, a Muslim convert.
Lee also rejected a stay of his decision pending appeal by senior federal counsel Noor Hisham Ismail. “There must be a human face to her application. She has not seen her daughter since 2009.” Lee said. M. Kulasegaran, who is in Indira’s legal team, described Lee’s directive to Khalid as “courageous to uphold the rule of law”. “We will have to wait until the seven days lapses before deciding the next course of action,” said Kulasegaran, who is also Ipoh Barat MP. Muhammad Riduan Abdullah or previously known as K. Pathamanaban had converted to Islam in 2009.
The Shariah High Court in Ipoh gave Riduan custody of the three children, including Prasana Diksa, after he unilaterally converted them to Islam in 2009. Riduan had refused to hand over Prasana Diksa despite a 2010 High Court order awarding custody of the couple’s three children to Indira. In July last year, Lee quashed the conversion of the children and ruled that the certificates of conversion were unconstitutional. On May 30, the court found Riduan guilty of contempt of court for failing to return Prasana Diksa to Indira.
On that day , Lee also granted her a recovery order and warrant of arrest against her former husband. The girl, who is now five, was separated from the mother when she was a 11-month-old. She is believed to be in Kota Baru. Another order was to arrest Riduan and place him in a civil prison until he offers an explanation to the court why he refused to return Prasana Diksa to the mother. Khalid, however, refused to enforce the court order and said police were caught between two court systems because of the different custody orders from a civil and Shariah court. Indira then went back to the High Court on July 25 to file an order of mandamus against Khalid to enforce the May 30 directives.