NRD gets stay on surname ruling

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 22 Aug 2017

PUTRAJAYA: The apex court here has granted an application by the National Registration Department (NRD) and two others to stay a ruling that a Muslim child conceived out of wedlock can use his or her father’s name as his or her surname instead of “bin Abdullah”.

Federal Court judge Chief Justice Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif, who chaired a three-man panel, allowed the application by Senior Federal Counsel Ahmad Terrirudin Mohd Salleh, who acted for the NRD, its director-general and the Government, yesterday.

In civil cases, a party has to obtain leave from the Federal Court before it can proceed with an appeal.

The NRD and two other applicants had filed for leave to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s ruling.

The apex court set Sept 8 to hear the matter.

Md Raus also granted an application by the Johor Islamic Religious Council (Maij) to intervene in the leave application, but struck out a similar application by the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council (Mawip).

“I do not want multiple parties to intervene and argue on the same points,” said Md Raus.

Other judges on the panel were Court of Appeal president Justice Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin and Justice Alizatul Khair Osman Khairuddin.

The respondents (the child and his parents) are from Johor.

On May 25, a Court of Appeal three-man panel of judges chaired by Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat unanimously ruled that the NRD director-general was not bound by a fatwa or religious edict issued by the National Fatwa Committee to decide on the surname of a Muslim child conceived out of wedlock.

The other judges were Justices Abdul Rahman Sebli and Zaleha Yusof.

In the judgment, Abdul Rahman said the director-general’s jurisdiction was a civil one and was confined to determining whether the child’s parents had fulfilled the requirements under the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1957, which covers all illegitimate children, Muslim and non-Muslim.

Abdul Rahman said the director-general acted irrationally in refusing to alter a child’s surname from “Abdullah” to the name of the child’s father in the birth certificate on the purported grounds that the fatwa did not allow it.

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