PUTRAJAYA: The nine-member Federal Court bench will convene on Dec 16 to hear an appeal by a woman for a declaration that she is a not a Muslim.
Selangor state assistant legal adviser Siti Fatimah Talib said the new date was fixed today following case management before deputy registrar Azniza Mohd Ali.
The state government and the Selangor Religious Council are respondents in the suit brought by Rosliza Ibrahim, while the Federal government is brought in as a friend of the court to assist the judges in the case.
The hearing was vacated on Oct 6 after a lawyer appearing for the council came in close contact with a minister who tested positive for Covid-19.
Rosliza, who was born to a Muslim father but raised as a Buddhist by her Buddhist mother, has taken the position that the Islamic laws of Selangor do not apply to her and that the shariah court has no jurisdiction over her.
She said it had been presumed that she had been born a Muslim, based on an assumption of a valid marriage between her parents and an assumption that her late mother had converted to Islam.
Rosliza said she had gone to the religious authorities in 10 other states and obtained confirmation that her parents did not have any records of her mother converting to Islam or that a Muslim marriage had taken place.
The High Court in Shah Alam dismissed her suit in April 2017 on grounds that the evidence she produced was insufficient and her remedy was the shariah court .
The Court of Appeal in 2018 upheld the High Court ruling.
Early this year, the Federal Court allowed Rosliza’s application for leave to appeal based on two legal questions.
They were whether the civil court had the exclusive jurisdiction to determine whether a person is or is not a Muslim under the law, and whether any information contained in the identity card is conclusive proof that one is a Muslim.
The legal and religious fraternities are closely following Rozliza’s case as it is an opportunity to revisit a 2007 case involving Lina Joy, a Muslim woman who sought, but failed, to be allowed to change her religion from Islam to Christianity.
The Federal Court had ruled that Lina must first obtain a certificate from the shariah court to leave the religion before presenting it to the National Registration Department for the word “Islam” to be removed from her identity card.