PUTRAJAYA: The Catholic Church's application for leave to appeal against the Court of Appeal decision in the 'Allah' case will be heard by a five-member Federal Court bench, said Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria.
He said a full bench (comprising 13 judges) was unnecessary at this stage because the Federal Court would only be hearing an application to seek leave to appeal.
"I've gone through the issue and I don't think it warrants a full bench just to hear the leave application," he told a press conference after the Opening of the Legal Year 2014.
He was responding to a suggestion from lawyer Karpal Singh Friday that a full bench should sit to hear the case.
When asked if he would consider a full bench should leave be granted, Arifin said, "This is a leave application, we have to go stage by stage. We haven't decided whether to give leave."
Last October, the Court of Appeal bench allowed the home ministry's appeal and ruled that the Church's publication, Herald could not use the word, 'Allah', as it was not an integral part of the Christian faith and practice.
The church subsequently filed an application for leave to appeal and the matter was fixed for Feb 24. - Bernama