Lawyer: Civil court has no jurisdiction


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 10 Jan 2007

PUTRAJAYA: A Muslim convert, engaged in a divorce and custody battle with his wife who is preventing him from converting their second son, has lost his right to appear before the civil court, the Court of Appeal heard. 

T. Saravanan's counsel Mohd Haniff Katri Abdulla said so much had been said about the wife R. Subashini's non-existent right to appear before the Syariah Court in order to substantiate her justification to file a petition in the civil court. 

However, on the other hand, the civil court had no jurisdiction over the husband, he said. 

“It is our humble submission that the husband loses the right to appear and petition before the civil court upon his conversion to Islam and therefore, the civil court does not have jurisdiction over the Muslim convert,” he said. 

Mohd Haniff Katri also said since Subashini had not objected to her husband's conversion, she could now not complain as to his rights as a muallaf (a new convert) that included applying and insisting on the application of Hukum Syarak (Islamic Law) to his immediate family and children. 

Subashini's counsel Malik Imtiaz Sarwar reiterated the wife did not have any relief in the Syariah Court, and that she could not be a party to the proceedings there as she did not profess Islam. 

On Sept 25, last year, Judicial Commissioner Aziah Ali set aside the injunction granted to 28-year-old Subashini a month earlier, which had enabled her to temporarily restrain Saravanan, 31, from commencing with the proceedings in the Syariah Court regarding their marriage and conversion of their children. 

The couple, who had yet to finalise their divorce, have two children – Dharvin Joshua, three, and one-year-old Sharvin. 

Saravanan, whose Muslim name is Muhammad Shafi Abdullah, had claimed that the elder child had converted to Islam with him in May.  

Court of Appeal judges Justices Gopal Sri Ram, Suriyadi Halim Omar and Hasan Lah reserved their judgment to a later date.  

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