She had applied to the High Court on October 1, 2004, to have her Muslim name replaced to Vijaya Letchumy a/p Rajamanickam after having abandon Islam.
But the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council applied to have her application struck out because the Council held the view the civil court did NOT have jurisdiction in her case.
In her affidavit-in-reply, she said the Council's action was defective and should be rejected with cost as it did not state the subsection under Order 18 Rule 19 of the High Court Rules 1980 that was used.
She sought a declaration that she had constitutional right guaranteed under the provisions of Article 11(1) of the Federal Constitution to renounce Islam.
She also sought a declaration that she did NOT have obligation to apply to the Syariah Court or other authority bodies to renounce Islam based on the same Article.
Federal Constitution :
1. Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion and, subject to Clause (4), to propagate it. (Click here for more)
She sought another declaration that the need to apply to the Federal Territories Syariah Court before renouncing Islam was inconsistent with Articles 5(1), 8(1) and 74 of the Federal Constitution.
Article 5 (1) :No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty save in accordance with law.
Article 8 (1) :All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law.
(1) Without prejudice to any power to make laws conferred on it by any other Article, Parliament may make laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in the Federal List of the Concurrent List (that is to say, the First or Third List set out in the Ninth Schedule).
(2) Without prejudice to any power to make laws conferred on it by any other Article, the Legislature of a State may make laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in the State List (that is to say, the Second List set out in the Ninth Schedule) or the Concurrent List.
(3) The power to make laws conferred by this Article is exercisable subject to any conditions or restrictions imposed with respect to any particular matter by this Constitution.
(4) Where general as well as specific expressions are used in describing any of the matters enumerated in the Lists set out in the Ninth Schedule the generality of the former shall not be taken to be limited by the latter.
The High Court's Justice Datuk Wan Afrah Wan Ibrahim deferred the hearing to enable the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council to reply to her affidavit-in-reply.
The hearing was postponed to March 8.
Bernama reports: (Read here for more)
".... Non-Muslims will not be forced to attend Syariah courts to testify in cases involving differences between Muslims and non-Muslims.
Chief Syarie Judge of the Syariah Judiciary Department, Datuk Sheikh Ghazali Abdul Rahman, said in a plural society a person's willingness to testify and a compromising attitude should be nurtured and protected.
"I feel it is important for everyone in this multiracial country to cooperate with one another. We do not need force but voluntary effort which can satisfy all sides," he said after opening a conference on family law and its challenges here, Tuesday.
Meanwhile, former family court judge Datuk Faiza Thamby Chik said there was no force for a converted Muslim to remain in Islam, but there was a procedure for a converted Muslim to follow in order to return to his or her original religion.
Faiza said a person converted to Islam would be issued a 'mualaf' (convert) certificate and the person should go back to the Syariah court or the Islamic Religious Department if he or she wanted to return to the original religion......"