Saturday, December 31, 2005

SUHAKAM: Civil Court took easy way out of Moorthy's case

The late Moorthy’s case gets more confusing, but only because poor KTemoc is not well versed in the finer intricacies of constitutional or religious law. Yesterday a kind reader clarified the finer issues of law regarding the ruling of the civil court in my posting Climber left widow an emotional Everest to surmount, for which I was grateful. Mind you, he or she did qualify his/her advice in that he/she thought there's a very fine line here concerning the High Court's decision.

Now, Human Rights Commission chairman Abu Talib Othman who was once our top government legal eagle said that the civil court has not done its duty.

Abu Talib said the civil court should not have taken the easy way out by avoiding the hard call in Moorthy’s case by merely ruling that, since the late man was deemed a Muslim covert by the Syariah court, his case came under the latter's jurisdiction. Hear! Hear! Tan Sri!

He stated that the civil court ought to have examined the constitutionality of whether all matters relating to Islam should be handled by the Syariah court. He emphasized that only the civil court may decide on constitutional matters.

Abu Talib lamented that unfortunately the Appellate Court refrained from meeting its obligation. As one other reader Maobi wrote in my posting Tottering Tower of the Moorthy Saga, “In every case its been Muslim judges making the calls while a sword of eternal damnation hangs over their heads. Of course they will ask the law to bend over and take it up the bum.” Adoi! (Ouch!)

Abu Talib Othman said: “I think this is a constitutional issue. The individual has the right to choose his or her own religion. Once the person has embraced Islam, he has to act in accordance to the tenets of the religion. Otherwise, there is no meaning or commitment to his conversion.”

“Islam is a religion practised according to hukum syarak and the competent person to decide on Islamic matters is the Syariah court.”

“But in this case, the civil court should have considered the constitutionality of the amendment to the Federal Constitution, which was presented by the Government and passed by Parliament, and decide whether it is constitutional or not. Because in the matter of constitutionality, the civil court is competent.”

“Moorthy’s widow should have sought a ruling on the constitutionality of the law.”

“The Federal Constitution has clearly stated that any case must be dealt with by a court of competent jurisdiction. You cannot have a judge who has not professed to Islam to determine what’s wrong or not wrong in the case of Moorthy”, to which he added that the civil court could have co-opted an expert well-versed in hukum syarak to give evidence.

But it has to be the civil court who decides on matters constitutional.

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