PUTRAJAYA: A 37-year-old woman who is embroiled in a legal battle over her religious status has turned to the Federal Court in an attempt to set aside a Court of Appeal's decision in reinstating her as a Muslim.
Her counsel A.Surendra Ananth, when contacted, confirmed that his client has filed a notice of motion yesterday, seeking leave to pursue her appeal to the Federal Court.
On Jan 13 this year, the Court of Appeal, in a 2-1 majority decision, allowed the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) and the state government's appeals to reinstate the woman as a Muslim.
This followed a decision by the Shah Alam High Court on Dec 21, 2021, in nullifying her conversion to Islam.
In civil cases, litigants must first get leave from the court before they can proceed to file their appeal to the Federal Court.
In her application, the woman wants the Federal Court to determine four questions of law, including in a situation where a Syariah Court order is invalid, can that order be challenged collaterally in the Civil High Court and whether Article 121 (1A) of the Federal Constitution is applicable.
Another question is whether section 74(3) of the Administration of Islamic Law Enactment 1989 (Selangor) ousts the jurisdiction of the High Court to determine the validity of a minor's conversion into Islam.
In her originating summons, the woman, who was born a Hindu to a Hindu father and a Buddhist mother in 1986, sought a declaration that she was not a person professing the religion of Islam.
She said her mother converted to Islam in 1991 and had also unilaterally converted her, who was turning five years old then, at the Selangor Islamic Religious Department's (Jais) office.
The woman claimed that despite her conversion to Islam, her mother and stepfather allowed her to continue to practise the Hindu faith. She claimed that she never professed the religion of Islam.
On Dec 12, 2013, the woman filed a summons at the Kuala Lumpur Syariah High Court for a declaration that she was no longer a Muslim and on July 20, 2017, the Syariah High Court dismissed her summons and the Syariah Court of Appeal dismissed her appeal on Aug 1, 2017.
The woman then filed a suit in the Shah Alam Civil High Court which granted her a declaration that she is not a Muslim.
Surendra said the Federal Court has fixed March 2 for case management of his client's application for leave to appeal. - Bernama