The Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) won its case to get a 37-year-old woman back into the Muslim faith.
Justice Yaacob Sam said that the majority decision of the Court of Appeal was that the appeal has merit.
In the majority decision, Yaacob and Justice Nazlan Ghazali sided with Mais, but Justice Ravinthran Paramaguru disagreed.
When she was still a child, the woman’s mother forced her to change her religion from Hinduism to Islam.
The woman, who was born in 1986, said that her mother had forced her to become a Muslim in 1991 at the Jais office in Selangor.
Her parents were getting a divorce at the time of the change, which was finalised in 1992. Her mother later married a Muslim man in 1993, and three years later, her father died in an accident.
The woman said that even though she had become a Muslim, her mother and stepfather let her keep practising the Hindu religion she was born into.
In 2021, the Shah Alam High Court said that she was not a Muslim.
Nazlan spoke for the majority when he said that civil courts don’t have the power to hear cases about renunciation.
He said that the woman had already asked the Kuala Lumpur shariah court to say that she was “no longer a Muslim” in a lawsuit. But her plan to give up was turned down.
After the shariah court’s decision, the woman went to the civil court.
“In this case, there is no proof that her (late) father ever questioned her decision to become a Christian.
“The shariah court had already decided that she was a Muslim,” Nazlan said to explain how this case was different from earlier ones involving Rosliza Ibrahim and M Indira Gandhi’s children and the Federal Court.
In the case of Rosliza, the highest court said she was never a Muslim. Nazlan said that the evidence showed that her mother was a Buddhist and that there was no proof that she was an Islamist.
In the case of Indira’s children, the Federal Court ruled that a child can’t convert to Islam without the permission of both parents.
Nazlan said that the case should be over since the shariah court had already decided what should happen to the woman.
Ravindran disagreed with the majority opinion and said that the law in Selangor at the time made it clear that a person can only convert to Islam after they turn 18.
“The woman’s conversion in 1991 was not legal and broke Section 147 of the Administration of Muslim Law Act,” he said.
Ravindran also said that the woman’s mother let her follow Hinduism on her own.
He said, “The High Court did the right thing when it gave her declaratory relief.”
Surendra Ananth was the lawyer for the woman, and Haniff Khatri Abdulla was the lawyer for Mais.
Surendra told the press that the woman’s lawyers will ask the Federal Court for permission to appeal the decision made today.