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6/4/2017 CASESOFTHEWEEK|CLJLaw|CLJ

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CASESOFTHEWEEK

CIVILPROCEDURE: Jurisdiction High Court Interpretation of art. 121(1A) Federal Constitution Whether subject matter must come within purview of Syariah Courts
WhetheranonmuslimapplicanthadnolocustoappearinSyariahCourtsWhetherjurisdictiontodetermineconstitutionalityofmattersfallwithinpurviewofHighCourtand
notSyariahCourt

ISLAMICLAW:ConversionConversionofminorchildrentoIslamWhetherconversiontoIslamofminorchildrenbyconvertedparentwithoutconsentofnonconvertedparent
unconstitutional,nullandvoidWhethers.96(1)ofAdministrationoftheReligionofIslam(Perak)Enactment2004concerningrequirementsforvalidconversioncompliedwith
Whetherconversionbreachedart.11ofFederalConstitutionandrulesofnaturaljustice

INDIRAGANDHIMUTHOv.PENGARAHJABATANAGAMAISLAMPERAK&ORS
HIGHCOURTMALAYA,IPOH
LEESWEESENGJC
[JUDICIALREVIEWNO:25102009]
25JULY2013

Sixteenyearsaftertheapplicant'smarriagetothesixthrespondent,thelatterembracedIslamand,withoutherconsent,convertedtheirthreechildren(`thechildren')aged12
years,11yearsand11months,toIslam.OndiscoveringthatthefirstrespondenthadissuedcertificatesofconversiontoIslam(`thecertificates')forthechildrenandthatthe
SyariahHighCourthadgrantedcare,controlandcustodyofthechildrentothesixthrespondent,theapplicantbroughttheinstantjudicialreviewapplicationto(i)quashthe
certificates for noncompliance with ss. 99, 100 and 101 of the Administration of the Religion of Islam (Perak) Enactment 2004 (`the Enactment') (ii) prohibit the second
respondentandhisservants/agentsfromregisteringorcausingtoberegisteredthechildrenasMuslimsorMuallafundertheEnactment(iii)furtheroralternatively,declarethe
certificatestobenullandvoidforbreachings.106(b)oftheEnactmentand/orss.5and11oftheGuardianshipofInfantsAct1961and/orart.12(4)readwithart.8(2)ofthe
FederalConstitutionand(iv)furtheroralternatively,declarethatthechildrenhadnotbeenconvertedtoIslaminaccordancewiththelaw.Apreliminaryobjectionwastakenby
therespondentsattheoutsetofthehearingthatthecourtdidnothavethejurisdictiontohearthematterasthesubjectmatterwaswithinthepurviewandprovinceofthe
SyariahCourt.Section96(1)oftheEnactmentprovidedthatforaperson'sconversiontoIslamtobevalid(a)thepersonmustutterinreasonablyintelligibleArabicthetwo
clausesoftheaffirmationoffaith(b)atthetimeofutteringthetwoclausesoftheaffirmationoffaith,thepersonmustbeawarethattheymean"Ibearwitnessthatthereisno
GodbutAllahandIbearwitnessthattheProphetMuhammadSAWistheMessengerofAllah"and(c)theutterancemustbemadeoftheperson'sownfreewill.Article12(4)of
theFederalConstitutionstatedthatthereligionofapersonundertheageof18yearsshallbedecidedbyhisparentorguardian.

Held(dismissingpreliminaryobjectionastocourt'sjurisdictiondeclaringthatthechildrenhadnotbeenconvertedtoIslaminaccordancewiththelawandquashing
therespectivecertificatesofconversion):

(1)Thecertificatesofconversionwerenullandvoidandofnoeffectfornoncompliancewiths.96oftheEnactment.Itwasnotdisputedthatthechildrenwerenotpresentbefore
theconvertingauthorityand,inanycase,didnotutterthetwoclausesoftheaffirmationoffaith.Thechildrenwerewiththeapplicantatthematerialtime.(paras71,78&79)

(2)Thesixthrespondent'sargumentthatunders.101(2)oftheEnactment,thecertificatewasconclusiveproofofthefactsstatedthereinwasuntenable.Suchaclausecouldnot
oustthejurisdictionofthecourt,moresowhentherewaspatentnoncompliancewiththeprovisionoftheEnactmentinss.98and106.Thecertificatewasonlyanevidentiary
tool. As it was not disputed that the children were not before the converting authority and could not have uttered the two clauses of the affirmation of faith, the very
conclusivenessofthecertificateswasopentochallenge.(para77)

(3)Theconversionofthechildrenwithouttheapplicant'sconsentnotonlyviolatedart.11oftheFederalConstitutionbutalsointernationalnormsandconventions.Forthe
applicantnottobeabletoteachherchildrenthetenetsofherfaithwastodepriveherfurtherofherconstitutionalrightsunderarts.5(1)and3(1)oftheFederalConstitution.The
conversionofthechildrenwasthereforeunconstitutional,illegal,nullandvoidandofnoeffect.(paras67&69)

(4)Eveniftheconsentofasingleparent(totheconversion)sufficedunders.106(b)oftheEnactment,therewasneverthelessaneedtogivetheapplicanttherighttobeheard,
moresowhenshewouldbedeprivedofherrightsaltogetherwherethedecisionregardingthereligiousupbringingofthechildrenwasconcerned.Here,bothsheandthe
childrenhadnotbeenheardandthecertificatesofconversioncouldnotbesustainedforbreachofnaturaljustice.(paras79&83)

(5)Wherethereweretwopossibleinterpretationsoftheword"parent"inart.12(4)oftheFederalConstitution,theinterpretationthatwasconsistentwiththeotherconstitutional
provisions,particularlythefundamentallibertiesprovisions,andwhichbestpromotedcommitmenttointernationalnormsandenhancedbasichumanrightsandhumandignity,
wastobepreferred.Byinterpretingart.12(4)asrequiringasingleparent'sconsenttoconvertaminorchildtoIslamindisregardoftherightsofthenonconvertingparentfell
foulofart.8oftheConstitutionandmadetheequalrightsofguardianshipofbothparentsundertheGuardianshipofInfantsAct1961illusoryandinfirm.(paras56&110)

(6)Article121(1A)oftheFederalConstitutiondidnottakeawaythepowersofthecivilHighCourtsthemomentamattercamewithinthejurisdictionoftheSyariahCourts.Not
onlymustthesubjectmatterconcernedbepurelywithintheprovinceoftheSyariahCourtbutthatthesubjectappearingbeforeitmustbeMuslims.Boththepowersandthe
partiesmustcomewithinthepurviewandprovinceoftheSyariahCourts.OnlythenwouldthecivilHighCourtsnothavejurisdiction.Intheinstantcase,theapplicantbeing
nonMuslim,hadnolocustoappearintheSyariahCourtseveniftheSyariahCourtsweretoallowit.(paras24&25)

(7)TheSyariahCourtwasacreatureofstatelawanddidnothavejurisdictiontodecideontheconstitutionalityofmatterssaidtobewithinitsexclusivepurviewandprovince.
Onlythesuperiorcivilcourts,beingacreatureoftheconstitution,hadthatjurisdiction.ThecivilHighCourtaccordinglyhadjurisdictiontoheartheapplicant'scaseasshewas
challengingtheconstitutionalityoftherespondents'actionsinconvertingthechildrentoIslamaswellasassertingherrightsundertheFundamentalLibertiesprovisionsinPart
IIoftheFederalConstitutionaswellasundertheGuardianshipofInfantsAct1961.(paras11&18)

(8)ThecivilHighCourtsnotonlyhadthegeneralpowersreferredtoins.23oftheCourtsofJudicatureAct1964andtheadditionalpowersreferredtointheScheduletotheAct
buthadresidualorreservepowerstohearacomplaintfromanycitizenthathisorherconstitutionalrightsorlegalrightshadbeenviolatedwhetherunderFederallawora
StateEnactment.TheconstitutionwassupremeandParliamentcouldnottakeawaythejudicialpowersofthecourttohearthegenuinegrievanceofanycitizen.(para21)

Case(s)referredto:

AbdulKaharAhmadv.KerajaanNegeriSelangorDarulEhsan;KerajaanMalaysia&Anor(Interveners)[2008]4CLJ309FC(refd)

AmBank(M)Bhdv.TanTemSom&AnotherAppeal[2013]3CLJ317FC(refd)

BSurinderSinghKandav.GovernmentoftheFederationofMalaya[1962]1LNS14PC(refd)

ChungChiCheungv.TheKing[1939]AC160(refd)

Dato'KadarShahTunSulaimanv.DatinFauziahHaron[2008]4CLJ504HC(refd)

http://www.cljlaw.com/default.asp?page=cotw130920 1/4
6/4/2017 CASESOFTHEWEEK|CLJLaw|CLJ
DatukHjMohammadTufailMahmud&Orsv.Dato'TingCheckSii[2009]4CLJ449FC(refd)

FederalHotelSdnBhdv.NationalUnionofHotel,Bar&RestaurantWorkers[1983]1CLJ67;[1983]CLJ(Rep)150FC(refd)

LatifahMatZinv.RosmawatiSharibun&Anor[2007]5CLJ253FC(refd)

LinaJoylwn.MajlisAgamaIslamWilayahPersekutuan&YangLain[2007]3CLJ557FC(refd)

ManoharanMalayalam&Anorv.Dato'SeriMohdNajibTunHajiAbdulRazak&Ors[2013]1LNS297CA(refd)

MinistryforImmigrationandEthnicAffairsv.Teoh[1995]183CLR273(refd)

NoorfadillaAhmadSaikinv.ChayedBasirun&Ors[2012]1CLJ769HC(refd)

ShamalaSathiyaseelanv.DrJeyaganeshCMogarajah[2004]3CLJ516HC(refd)

SivarasaRasiahv.BadanPeguamMalaysia&Anor[2010]3CLJ507FC(refd)

SubashiniRajasingamv.SaravananThangathoray&OtherAppeals[2008]2CLJ1FC(refd)

TanSungMooiv.TooMiewKim[1994]3CLJ708SC(refd)

TanTekSeng@TanCheeMengv.SuruhanjayaPerkhidmatanPendidikan&Anor[1996]2CLJ771CA(refd)

TeohEngHuatv.TheKadhiofPasirMas,Kelantan&Anor[1990]2CLJ11;[1990]1CLJ(Rep)277SC(refd)

TitularRomanCatholicArchbishopofKualaLumpurv.MenteriDalamNegeri&Anor[2010]2CLJ208HC(refd)

WanJalilWanAbdulRahman&Anorv.PP[1988]1LNS150SC(refd)

ZainaAbidinHamid&Orsv.KerajaanMalaysia&Ors[2009]6CLJ683CA(refd)

Legislationreferredto:

AdministrationoftheReligionofIslam(Perak)Enactment2004,ss.50(3)(b)(x),96(1),98,99,100,101(2),106(b)

AdministrationoftheReligionofIslam(Perlis)Enactment2006,s.117(b)

AdministrationoftheReligionofIslam(StateofPenang)Enactment2004,s.117(b)

AdministrationoftheReligionofIslam(StateofSelangor)Enactment2003,s.117(b)

AdministrationofIslamicReligiousAffairs(Terengganu)Enactment1422H/2001M,s.101(b)

CourtsofJudicatureAct1964,ss.4,23,25(2)

FederalConstitution,arts.3(1),(4),4(1),5(1),8(1),(2),11,12(4),75,121(1),(1A),160(1),160A,160B

GuardianshipofInfantsAct1961,ss.3,5,11

GuardianshipofInfants(Amendment)Act1999,s.5

HumanRightsCommissionofMalaysiaAct1999,ss.2,4(4)

InterpretationandGeneralClausesOrdinance1948,s.2(95)

RulesoftheHighCourt1980,O.53rr.1,8(2)

Counsel:

FortheapplicantKShanmuga(MKulasegaran,FahriAzzat,SelvamNadarajahwithhim);M/sKula&Assocs

Forthe1st3rdrespondentsHamzahIsmail;AssistantStateLegalAdviser,Perak

Forthe4th&5threspondentsNoorhishamIsmail;SFC

Forthe6threspondentHatimMusa;M/sHatimMusa&Co

ReportedbyAshokKumar

ARBITRATION:AwardSettingasideApplicationforLeavetofileapplicationoutsidetimelimitReasonsfordelayWhetherextensioncouldbeallowedWhethertime
limitprescribedunders.37(4)ArbitrationAct2005mandatoryWhetherwords"maynot"ins.37(4)tobereadas"must"or"shall"

STATUTORYINTERPRETATION:ConstructionofstatutesIntentionofParliamentUseofwords"maynot"asopposedto"shall"ins.37(4)ArbitrationAct2005Whether
mandatoryormerelydirectoryWhetherwords"maynot"ins.37(4)tobereadas"must"or"shall"

WORDS&PHRASES:"maynot"ArbitrationAct2005,r.37(4)WordingofWhethermandatoryormerelydirectoryWhethertobereadas"must"or"shall"

JHWREELSSDNBHDv.SYARIKATBORCOSSHIPPINGSDNBHD
HIGHCOURT,KUALALUMPUR
MOHAMADARIFFYUSOFJ
[ORIGINATINGSUMMONSNO:24NCC(ARB)3012012]
18MAY2012

Theplaintiff,viaencl.1,soughttosetasideapartialawardunders.37(1)(b)(ii)and(2)(b)oftheArbitrationAct2005(`theAct').However,theapplicationwasfiledoutsidethe
timelimitprovidedunders.37(4)oftheActandtherefore,theplaintiffappliedforleavetofileencl.1beyondthe90daysprescribedunders.37(4)oftheAct(`prayer(i)').The
plaintiffcited,interalia,miscalculationofthedates,medicalleavebycounselandproblemswiththeEfilingsystemasthereasonsforthesixdaysdelay.Theplaintiffstressed
ontheuseofthewords"maynot"ins.37(4)asopposedto"shall"incontendingthattheleaveforextensionoftimeshouldbeallowed.Theplaintiffalsoreliedontheinherent
jurisdictionoftheHighCourtandpara.8oftheScheduletotheCourtsofJudicatureAct1964.TheplaintifffurtheradvancedcomparativecasesoftheEnglishcourtswherean
applicationoutsidethetimelimitwasallowedprovidedtherewerecogentreasonsforthesame.Onthecontrary,therespondenturgedthatastrictreadingofs.37(4)oftheAct
shouldbetaken,sinceessentiallysuchapositionwillbeconsonantwiththeschemeoftheArbitrationActwhichhasadoptedtheUNCITRALModelLaw(`ModelLaw').

Held(dismissingprayer(i)withcostsdismissingencl.1withcosts):

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