Federal court to rehear afresh appeal in "bin Abdullah" case

27 Jul 2018 / 15:50 H.

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court will rehear afresh on Oct 18 the appeal by National Registration Department (NRD) and two others against a ruling that a Muslim child conceived out of wedlock can bear his or her father's surname instead of "Abdullah".
Lawyer Nizam Bashir, appearing for the child and his parents (whose names have been withheld) in the case, said a seven-member panel of the of Federal Court judges would rehear the matter, which had become a public interest.
He said the matter would be re-heard following the resignation of the previous Chief Justice Tun Raus Sharif.
Raus had headed the earlier Federal Court five-man bench which heard the appeal on Feb 7 this year and reserved the court's decision.
Nizam said since Raus had left, the remaining judges might not be sufficient to decide on the matter.
The Federal Court five-man bench which heard the appeal last Feb 7 comprised Raus, Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop who was at that time Chief Judge of Malaya and Federal Court judges Tan Sri Hasan Lah, Datuk Seri Balia Yusof Wahi and Tan Sri Aziah Ali.
Nizam told reporters that the matter was set for case management today in line with the directive of the newly-appointed Chief Justice Tan Sri Richard Malanjum.
Malanjum had said that cases in the Federal Court involving constitutional issues, would be heard by a nine-man bench while cases of public interest would be heard before a seven-man panel of judges.
The case management on the appeal was conducted in chambers today before Federal Court deputy registrar Syahrin Jeli Bohari.
Also present were senior federal counsel Mazlifah Ayob, representing the NRD, its director-general and the government, and lawyer Halimatunsa'diah Abu Ahmad, for the Selangor Islamic Religious Council.
On May 25, last year, the Court of Appeal had ruled in favour of a couple and their child who filed a judicial review to compel the NRD director-general to replace the 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.
The court had held that a fatwa had no force of law and could not form the legal basis for the NRD director-general to decide on the surname of an illegitimate child under section 13A (2) of the BDRA.
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


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