PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court has granted Sisters in Islam (SIS) leave to appeal in its bid to quash a fatwa imposed by the Selangor religious authorities nine years ago.
A three-judge panel chaired by Court of Appeal president Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim gave the women’s rights group the right to pursue a final appeal after two lower courts ruled against it.
The apex court panel also comprised Chief Judge of Malaya Zabidin Diah and Justice Nallini Pathmanathan.
SIS is seeking to quash a 2014 fatwa by the Selangor Islamic religious council (Mais) which decreed that the group subscribed to liberalism and religious pluralism and had deviated from the teachings of Islam.
On March 13, the Court of Appeal had, in a majority ruling, dismissed SIS’ appeal over the High Court’s refusal to quash the fatwa.
Justice Che Ruzima Ghazali, delivering the majority judgment, said the fatwa made by the state religious authorities was “not conclusive”.
He said SIS could request that the fatwa committee relook its decision, and provide evidence to contradict its findings.
However, Justice Gunalan Muniandy, dissented, holding that the High Court had erred when dismissing SIS’ legal challenge on Aug 27, 2019.
He said that unlike individuals, SIS cannot profess a religion.
SIS was represented by lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, while Yusfarizal Yussoff appeared for Mais. The Selangor government was represented by assistant state legal adviser Khairul Nizam Abu Bakar.
Lawyer Aidil Khalid represented the Selangor fatwa committee.