On Indira Gandhi's Federal Court Ruling
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

We applaud the Federal Court's bold decision in ruling that the unilateral conversion of M. Indira Gandhi's three children is null and void. The landmark ruling should put to rest any uncertainties involving similar conversion cases. We also hope the ruling will derail some of the ongoing efforts by right wing groups to sow discord and push this plural country further down the road of extremism.

Now that the Apex Court has ruled, it is incumbent upon the Executive wing of the government to carry out not just the letter, but the spirit of the ruling. Justice has been denied to Indira by the inordinate delay. We are gratified that the IGP had, soon after the Federal Court ruling, promised to enforce the law.

We are hopeful his pledge will translate into swift action that will bring a closure to Indira's nine-year legal battle. The public cannot be faulted for their cynicism over government agencies' feet-dragging in cases involving overlapping jurisdiction between civil and Syariah courts, going by past experience. But we are optimistic that the authorities like the police will do what is right, now that the Federal Court has ruled.

For years, the acrimonious debate over Indira's case and those related to overlapping jurisdiction between the civil and Syariah courts had chipped off at the moderate foundations this country is built upon. The right wingers in our midst had been very strident in fanning public sentiments, to the detriment of nation building.

The Federal Court's upholding of the basic structure of our Federal Constitution will entrench constitutional rights in the face of any Parliamentary attacks.

Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz hit the nail on the head by describing the decision as a victory for all Malaysians. We hope the authoritative pronouncement by Federal Court will end unnecessary squabbles over terminologies and interpretation of the relevant provisions of the Federal Constitution.

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