Muhammad Shafi Saravanan Abdullah (that’s the new moniker of the man who embraced Islam last year) also commenced proceedings at the syariah court to dissolve the marriage to his Hindu wife.
In an astonishing judgement, Justice Suriyadi Halim Omar said it "made no sense" for the wife, Subshini, to argue that, according to the constitution, the syariah court was only for Muslims.
Isn’t it? I must say I have always been under that impression, that the syariah court would be only for Muslims on Islamic issue, but what the hell do I know, not being a judge. And why did his honour say that a Hindu’s refusal to acknowledge the authority of an Islamic court "made no sense"?
Was he implying that Sharia has been declared as the only legal code governing the legal system of Malaysia? If so, then he would be out of a job.
But Justice Gopal Sri Ram, in a dissenting minority decision, said the syariah court only had jurisdiction where all parties were Muslim. In the Subshini case, the wife was Hindu.
Sympathisers of the wife fear she won’t stand a snowflake’s chance in hell with the syariah court. Invariably, the judges were accused of abdicating their responsibilities for cringing in cases involving a non-Muslim wrestling with an Islamic issue.
The usual calls were voiced to remind male members of the Malaysian civil judiciary not to forget they have balls. Last year, former Attorney-General Abu Talib Othman (now Suhakam Chairperson) made the same testicular reminder in the case of M Moorthy, which I blogged in SUHAKAM Chairman: "Civil Court Judges Lack Balls".
Abu Talib said he saw the problem of any civil court abdicating its responsibilities as that of those judges lacking the courage to act independently of the Executive (ie. PM & Cabinet). He averred that the judges failed to apply the relevant provisions for non-Muslims with initiative, justice and more guts instead of waiting for a political nod from the PM.
Abu Talib even accused the judges of civil courts of worrying about their promotional prospects as the possible reason for lacking the courage. He said: “The courts have failed to do so (interpret boldly) for the slightest unreasonable reasons in many cases where Islam is merely seen on the surface.”
In other words, what he said was the moment those civil court judges detected the faintest whiff of any Islamic element, even though the Islamic connection wasn't the core issue, they would freeze into gutless abdication of their
That had been what human rights lawyer Malik Imtiaz said too. When he told Abu Talib about judges who admit to being Muslims first rather than civil court judges, the latter advised him to report the matter and if there was evidence, those judges should be removed.
He said: “They are unfit to be judges, then. Judges should remember their constitutional oath to protect and uphold the Federal Constitution as the supreme law of the land.”
malaysiakini reader JC Francis accused the Appeals Court of human rights violation, by denying Subshini, a non-Muslim of her fundamental contitutional rights when it passed a judgement that effectively imposes on her the eventual judgement of the Islamic syariah courts.
Apart from the current controversy of a civil court (by a 2 to 1 majority) despatching a Hindu to be judged by a syariah court, presumably because such a proselytising move of earth-shaking constitutional significance “makes sense” to his honour, I also wonder a number of times why such traumatic split marriages as a result of religion usually happened to Indian Malaysians.
Or am I wrong?
Death threats against apostasy lawyer