Court orders rehearing of woman’s bid to be free of Shariah law

Rosliza Ibrahim’s lawyer Aston Paiva (pic) speaks to reporters outside the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya October 11, 2016. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Rosliza Ibrahim’s lawyer Aston Paiva (pic) speaks to reporters outside the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya October 11, 2016. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

PUTRAJAYA, Oct 11 — The Court of Appeal allowed today a woman’s appeal for a legal declaration that Shariah courts do not have jurisdiction over her, after the High Court dismissed her application earlier this year.

Rosliza Ibrahim, a 35-year-old who was born out of wedlock to a Muslim father and a Buddhist mother, is seeking the declaration after having grown up as a practising Buddhist all her life.

A three-member panel led by Justice Datuk Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim ruled that the matter be remitted back to the Shah Alam High Court, to be heard in front of a different judge.

Rosliza’s lawyer Aston Paiva earlier argued that the case must be referred back to the High Court as there were speculations regarding her parents’ marital status in the High Court judgement that needs to be clarified.

The High Court was said to have dismissed Rosliza’s application in March because she did not prove then that her parents were unmarried to each other.

Neither the Selangor, nor Federal Territories Islamic Departments, showed any record of the marriage of Rosliza’s parents, while her mother maintained a non-Muslim name until her death.

But the High Court said that the marriage could have taken in any of the other 10 states or abroad.

Aston argued today that the burden of proving the marriage took place lies with the defendants in the case, which is the Selangor government.

“If time was given to us, we could have written in to the Islamic authorities in all the 10 states and also the Immigration Department,” Aston said.

“If the mother was allowed to use her own name for the passport after (Rosliza’s) birth, that means the marriage did not take place abroad,” he added.