by Karen Arukesamy
KUALA LUMPUR: Only the Syariah Court has the power to review a fatwa, the High Court ruled today.
Judge Datuk Hanipah Farikullah said this in dismissing the judicial review filed by Sister's in Islam (SIS) against the Selangor Fatwa Committee and the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais).
She said the civil court does not have the jurisdiction to hear a case which involves fatwa.
Article 121 (1A) of the Federal Constitution states that Malaysia's civil courts have no power to decide on matters within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Syariah Courts.
"Although the applicant has no remedy in the Syariah Court, (it) does not give jurisdiction to the civil court," Hanipah said.
She added that the fatwa is a matter of determination of Islamic Law and a unique matter of Islamic jurisprudence.
Thus only the Syariah Court has the jurisdiction to review a fatwa.
"It is for the legislator to provide the remedy.
"The courts can only follow the laws passed by the legislators," Hanipah said.
In October 2014, SIS named the Selangor Fatwa Committee, the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) and the state government as respondents in its judicial review.
The fatwa titled "Pemikiran Liberalisme dan Pluralisme Agama" declared SIS Forum (Malaysia) as subscribing to liberalism and religious pluralism, and therefore deviating from the teachings of Islam
Counsel Datuk Malik Imtiaz, who is representing SIS, said the applicant would appeal against the court ruling.
Assistant Legal Advisor Naziah Mokhtar repsented the fatwa committee while lawyers Majdah Muda and Yusfarizal Yusoff represented Mais.