Federal Court to deliver verdict on May 3 on woman's appeal over Muslim status


PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court has set May 3 to deliver its verdict on an appeal brought by a 37-year-old woman seeking to overturn a Court of Appeal decision to reinstate her as a Muslim.

Lawyer A. Surendra Ananth, representing the woman, told Bernama when contacted that he received a letter from the court on Friday (April 19) regarding the decision date.

The letter, sighted by Bernama, also stated that the decision would be delivered online via Zoom application.

A three-member bench comprising Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim and Federal Court judges Datuk Mary Lim Thiam Suan and Datuk Abu Bakar Jais reserved their decision on the appeal on Feb 19 this year after hearing submissions from lawyers representing the woman, the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) and the Selangor state legal advisor representing the Selangor state government.

The woman is appealing against the Jan 13, 2023 2-1 majority decision of the appellate court to reinstate her as a Muslim.

The woman said she was still a child when she was converted to Islam by her mother in 1991. She said her mother married a Muslim man after divorcing her father.

She also said despite her conversion to Islam, her mother and her stepfather allowed her to continue practising the Hindu faith which she was born into.

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.

On July 20, 2017, the Syariah High Court dismissed her summons and the Syariah Court of Appeal dismissed her appeal on Aug 1, 2017.

She then filed a lawsuit at the Civil High Court seeking a declaration that she is not a person professing the religion of Islam and named Mais and the Selangor state government as respondents.

On Dec 21, 2021, the High Court in Shah Alam allowed the woman’s suit and declared that she is not a Muslim but that decision was overturned by the Court of Appeal following the appeals by Mais and the Selangor state government.

The woman was granted leave to proceed with her appeal to the Federal Court on May 23 last year on six legal questions.

The court first heard her appeal on Jan 16 this year and then fixed Feb 19 this year for continuation of her appeal. - Bernama

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