SHAH ALAM: The High Court here has allowed a man to challenge a shariah appeals court’s refusal to hear his application on grounds that the notice of appeal was not served on the Selangor Islamic religious council (Mais) within the time prescribed by law.
In granting leave to pursue the application, Justice Shahnaz Sulaiman said the case was neither “frivolous” nor “vexatious”.
“This court further finds that there is some substance in the grounds supporting the application,” she added.
The 54-year-old man had filed an application in the Shariah High Court in 2014 seeking to renounce Islam, after he divorced his wife.
The Shariah High Court dismissed the application on Oct 7, 2019 and instead ordered him to attend “counselling” sessions.
Following that decision, the man’s lawyers discharged themselves from acting for him, prompting him to represent himself in the case.
On Oct 17, within the 14-day period, he filed an appeal to the shariah appeals court but failed to serve it on Mais within the prescribed period for service.
He then explained to the shariah appeals court that he was unable to effect service on time as he was without lawyers and urged the court to grant him an extension of time to serve the notice.
His application was objected to by Mais and was struck out by the shariah appeals court.
The man then filed for leave to commence judicial review proceedings in the High Court in a bid to challenge the shariah appeals court’s decision to dismiss his appeal without hearing him on the merits of his case.
In his application, which seeks to quash the shariah appeals court’s decision, he claimed the decision had infringed on his right to appeal and to practise the religion of his choice.
The court fixed Dec 27 for case management.