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6/4/2017 IndiraGandhicase:Dissentingjudgeexplainsdecision,suggestsChiefJusticemayhavesolution|Malaysia|MalayMailOnline

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IndiraGandhiattheCourtofAppealinPutrajaya,December30,2015.Filepic
KUALALUMPUR,Jan5ThecontentiousArticle121(1A)intheFederalConstitution,
whichprohibitscivilcourtsfrominterferingwiththeShariahcourts,doesnotapplyto

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/indiragandhicasedissentingjudgeexplainsdecisionsuggestschiefjustic 3/7
6/4/2017 IndiraGandhicase:Dissentingjudgeexplainsdecision,suggestsChiefJusticemayhavesolution|Malaysia|MalayMailOnline
administrativedecisionsmadebystatebodiesincludingIslamicagencies,ajudgesaid.

JusticeDatukDrHamidSultanAbuBackerwhowasthedissentingjudgeintheCourtof
AppealbenchthatrecentlyupheldtheunilateralconversionofM.IndiraGandhisthreechildren
toIslamnotedthatthependaftarMuallaforregistrarofMuslimconvertswhohad
registeredthechildrenasMuslims,fellunderthepurviewofthePerakIslamicReligious
Department(JAIPk)director.

Hence,anyadministrativedecisionmadebytheregistrar,whosepowersaresetoutinthe
AdministrationoftheReligionofIslam(Perak)Enactment2004,issubjecttojudicialreview
andthecivilcourthasjurisdictiontohearthematter,hesaid.

Article121(1A)doesnotpermitthecivilcourtstodealwithmatterswithinthejurisdictionof
theShariahCourts.

However,itdoesnotexcludethejurisdictionofthecivilcourtsjudicialreviewpowersinthe
administrativedecisionofthestateoritsagenciesand/oritsofficers.Whatthecivilcourts
cannotdoistointerveneinthelawfuldecisionoftheShariahCourtsmadewithinitsjurisdiction
andnotinexcessofitsjurisdiction,HamidSultanwroteinhis74pagewrittenjudgmentonthe
IndiraGandhicasethatwassightedbyMalayMailOnline.

Ina21decision,thethreejudgeCourtofAppealpanelruledlastmonththatthecivilcourts
hadnojurisdictionovertheconversionofIndiraschildrentoIslam,whichitsaidwassolelythe
purviewoftheShariahcourts.Indirahadsecuredin2013aIpohHighCourtordertoquashthe
conversionofherchildrentoIslam,whowereconvertedbyherMuslimexhusbandintheir
absenceandwithoutherknowledge.

HamidSultansaidinhisjudgmentthatnotallsectionsoftheAdministrationoftheReligionof
Islam(Perak)EnactmentareprotectedbyArticle121(1A)oftheFederalConstitution,noting
thatthemostrelevantpartofthestateenactmenttoArticle121(1A)isPartIVtitledShariah
Courts.ButthatnotallsectionswithinPartIVarerelevanttothatconstitutionalprovision,he
said.

TheCourtofAppealjudgesaiditalsofollowedthatotherpartsandsectionsintheEnactment,
whichhasapartonconversiontothereligionofIslam,wouldnotberelevanttoArticle121
(1A)oftheFederalConstitutioneither.

Thedistinctionisnotonerelatingtoappleandanorangebutthatofamarbleandpumpkin
whenitrelatestopubliclawrelief,saidHamidSultan.

HesaidthePerakregistrarscertificateofconversionforIndiraschildrenhadnothingtodo
withthejurisdictionoftheShariahCourtand/ordecisionoftheSyariahCourtasassertedin
Article121(1A)oftheFederalConstitution.

ThejudgealsosaidtheFederalConstitutioninMalaysiaissupreme,notingthattheexecutive,
thelegislatureandthejudiciaryhavetakenanoathtoprotectcitizensfundamentalrightsinthe
FederalConstitution.

Buthenotedthatthethreebranchescanonlydosoiftheyapplytheruleoflawrelatingtothe
supremacyoftheConstitution.

IronicallywhathastranspiredinMalaysiaisthatsomeofthecourtsdecisionsareonlybased
onconstitutionalsupremacyandalargemajorityofthedecisionwhichaffectsthefundamental
rightsarebasedonparliamentarysupremacy.

Thoseimportantdecisionswhichwasbasedonthejurisprudencerelatingtoparliamentary
supremacyappearsnottohaveinspiredconfidenceinthejudicialdecisionmakingprocessand
thecauseofconvolutedjurisprudenceinconsistentwiththeoathofoffice,HamidSultansaid.

Accordingtothejudge,parliamentarysupremacy,aspractisedinEngland,meansthatthe
judiciarymustcarryoutthewillofParliamentandthatthecourtsmustgivegreatdeferenceto
governmentpolicies.

Constitutionalsupremacy,ontheotherhand,meansthatParliamentmustbeguidedbythe
Constitutionandthatjudgesaretopreventanybreachesoftheconstitutionalframework.

HamidSultansaidtheproblemofthecourtsdecidingbasedonparliamentarysupremacystarted
withthe1988caseoftheMalaysiangovernmentvsLimKitSiang,wheretheSupremeCourt
hadruledthatataxpayerhasnolocusstanditoquestiongovernmentpolicies.TheSupreme
Courtalsosaidinamajoritydecisionthatitwouldnotinterferewithsuchpolicies.

Thedecisionhadadamagingeffectonallsubsequentdecisionsrelatingtofundamentalrights.
For,itmustbenotedthattheeffectofLimKitSiangscaseinpracticaltermscompromisedthe
doctrineofaccountability,transparencyandgoodgovernanceandthecheckandbalanceto
controlarbitrarinessbypublicdecisionmakerssuchasexecutiveandlegislature,saidHamid
Sultan,referringtotheDAPparliamentaryleader.

HearguedthatShariahlawsinMalaysiadonotinfringeontherightofnonMuslims,andthata

justdecisioncanbemadeiflawyersarelearnedincivil,criminal,constitutionalandShariahlaw
andcanbalancetherightsofpartieswiththeFederalConstitutionandtheRukunNegara.

SuchqualitiesinknowledgehavebecomeararebreedinMalaysia.Thatistosay,ifapersonis
anexpertinShariahlawonlyandisnotanexpertinallfieldsoflaw,viceversa,thenhisversion
ofjurisprudencewillbeofsuspect,saidthejudge.

HamidSultannotedthepositionofShariahlawsinallstatesisthattheIslamiccourtsdonot
havethejurisdictiontodecideonissuesinvolvingaMuslimandanonMuslim,andaddedthat
commonsensedictateshybridcasesshouldgotothecivilcourts.

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/indiragandhicasedissentingjudgeexplainsdecisionsuggestschiefjustic 4/7
6/4/2017 IndiraGandhicase:Dissentingjudgeexplainsdecision,suggestsChiefJusticemayhavesolution|Malaysia|MalayMailOnline
HealsohighlightedtheChiefJusticehasthediscretiontosetupspecialcourtsunderthecivil
courtsystemtodealwithMuslimandnonMuslimdisputes.

Ifsomecomfortneedtobegiventolitigantsinhybridcases,itdoesnotstoptheCJfrom
directingspecialcourtstohearSyariahmattersbetweenMuslimsandnonMuslimswithjudges
conversantinboththelaws

ItalsodoesnotstoptheCJfromliaisingwiththeAttorneyGeneraltoamendtheCourtsof
JudicatureActtoallowtheChiefSyariahjudgeofthestateorhisrepresentativetositincivil
courtswithtwootherjudges,oneaMuslimandanotheranonMuslimtoreachadecision,he
said.

Asimplemethodologyassuggestedabovewillpromoteracialharmonyandrespectforthe
GovernmentandGovernmentAgenciesaswellasprovidesatisfactionforlitigantinthe
administrationofjusticeinMalaysiaandisarecipetoavoidadverseglobaland/orpublic
perception,heconcluded.

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