Selangor goes to apex court over Sisters in Islam ‘fatwa’ ruling

sister-islam-courtKUALA LUMPUR: The Selangor government and its state religious authorities are going to the Federal Court to appeal a ruling that the civil court has jurisdiction to hear a constitutional challenge to a “fatwa” (religious edict).

Lawyer Farhan Haziq said this decision was conveyed by Selangor state legal adviser Nik Suhaimi Nik Sulaiman to High Court deputy registrar Nazlin Othman during case management today .

“They will also apply for a stay of proceedings in the High Court pending the outcome in the Federal Court,” said the lawyer who appeared for Islamic non-governmental organisation Sisters in Islam (SIS) and two others.

The next case management has been fixed for April 10.

The Selangor authorities have to first file a leave to appeal application before the apex court determines whether there is merit to hear the merits of the case.

On March 2, the Court of Appeal said the civil court had jurisdiction to hear SIS’ complaint.

A three-man bench chaired by Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat also ordered the merit of the case to be heard before a new judge.

On June 24 last year, Justice Hanipah Farikullah had ruled that civil courts had no power to hear cases pertaining to religious matters such as “fatwa” .

She had said the civil court had no jurisdiction to grant the remedies the NGO was seeking as the issue of “fatwa”was under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Shariah Court.

On Oct 31, 2014, SIS and two others – the group’s co-founder Zainah Mahfoozah Anwar and former federal minister Mohd Zaid Ibrahim – filed an application for a court order to revoke the “fatwa” decision.

The state religious council declared in a “fatwa” that SIS subscribed to liberalism and religious pluralism, and, therefore, had deviated from the teachings of Islam.