Oct 13 Apex Court hearing on woman's appeal over decision to reinstate her as Muslim

26 Jul 2023 04:49pm
Photo for illustrative purposes.
Photo for illustrative purposes.

PUTRAJAYA - The Federal Court has set Oct 13 to hear the appeal by a 37-year-old woman to overturn a Court of Appeal decision in reinstating her as a Muslim.

Lawyer A. Surendra Ananth, representing the woman, confirmed to Bernama the hearing date of the appeal following a case management held on Monday (July 24).

On May 22 this year, the woman was given leave to proceed with her appeal in the Federal Court on six legal questions.

On Jan 13 this year, the Court of Appeal, in a 2-1 majority decision, allowed the appeals brought by the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) and the Selangor state government to reinstate the woman as a Muslim.

On Dec 21, 2021, the High Court in Shah Alam allowed the woman’s suit and declared that she is not a Muslim.

In her originating summons, the woman, who was born a Hindu to a Hindu father and a Buddhist mother, said she was turning five years old when she was converted to Islam unilaterally by her mother in 1991 when her parents were in the midst of a divorce. The conversion took place at the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) office.

Her mother then married a Muslim man in 1993 and her father died in an accident three years later.

The woman claimed that despite her conversion into Islam, her mother and step-father allowed her to continue to practise the Hindu faith. She claimed that she never professed the religion of Islam.

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On Dec 12, 2013, the woman filed a summons at the Kuala Lumpur Syariah High Court for a declaration that she was no longer a Muslim. On July 20, 2017, the Syariah High Court dismissed her summons and the Syariah Court of Appeal dismissed her appeal on Aug 1, 2017, prompting her to file a suit in the Civil High Court.

Justice Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, who delivered the Court of Appeal majority decision, said the Syariah High Court and the Syariah Court of Appeal had already decided that the woman is still a Muslim and thus it was a renunciation case which falls under the Syariah Court's jurisdiction.

He said a judicial determination by the Syariah Court that a person is still a Muslim, like in the woman's case, must necessarily mean that she is a Muslim and not one that was never a Muslim. - BERNAMA