PUTRAJAYA, Nov 16 — The Federal Court has set next Thursday to deliver its verdict on an appeal by the National Registration Department (NRD) and two others whether a Muslim child conceived out of wedlock could bear his or her father’s surname instead of “Abdullah”.
Lawyer Nizam Bashir, representing the couple and their child who filed a judicial review to compel the NRD director-general to replace their child’s surname ‘Abdullah’ with the name of the child’s father in the birth certificate, said he was notified by the court on Tuesday (Nov 13) that the decision would be made on November 22.
The decision would be delivered by the apex court three-man bench comprising Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop and Federal Court judges Tan Sri Aziah Ali and Datuk Sri Balia Yusof Wahi, who were among the five-man panel that initially heard the appeal.
The other two judges, former Chief Justice Tun Raus Sharif, had resigned, while Federal Court judge Tan Sri Hasan Lah went on retirement.
Last Oct 18, Chief Justice Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, presiding a seven-man bench, decided not to rehear afresh the appeal, but for the remaining three judges from the initial Federal Court panel to proceed straight to deliver the decision.
Malanjum said there were enough judges remaining in the previous panel which had heard and reserved the decision in the appeal.
On May 25, last year, the Court of Appeal had ruled in favour of the couple and their child who filed a judicial review to compel the NRD director-general to replace their child’s surname ‘Abdullah’ with the name of the child’s father in the birth certificate.
The Court of Appeal, in a written judgment released on July 25, last year held that a Muslim child conceived out of wedlock could bear his or her father’s surname instead of “Abdullah”.
It (the Court of Appeal) said the NRD director-general was not bound by the ‘fatwa’ or religious edict issued by the National Fatwa Committee to decide the surname of a Muslim child conceived out of wedlock.
On Sept 8, last year, the Federal Court granted the NRD, its director-general and the government leave to appeal against the appellate court’s decision. — Bernama