No judicial review due to conversion status

(Bernama) – The Shah Alam High Court dismissed judicial review of Mohan Singh because the case was under the jurisdiction of the Selangor Syariah Court.

Since she made the finding based on Mohan's Sijil Akuan Masuk Islam in the 1959 Penang Enactment proved he converted to Islam in 1992, Judge Rosnani Saub said the Syariah Court should have jurisdiction to determine whether he was still a Muslim or otherwise at the time of his death.

“This is provided for under Section 61 (3)(b)(xi) of the Selangor State Enactment and by virtue of Article 121(1A) of the Federal Constitution, this court has no jurisdiction over the matter,” she said when reading her written judgement on the case yesterday.

As such proved sufficient pursuant to Section 113 (2) of the Selangor State Enactment, Mohan Singh was to be treated as a Muslim in this state and subjected to the provisions of the Selangor State Enactment.

Lifestyle and conduct

The fact Mohan’s lifestyle and conduct was inconsistent of a Muslim convert did not alter his status as a Muslim in the eyes of the existing laws added Rosnani.

She said: “In the state of Selangor, a Muslim shall, at all times, be acknowledged and treated as a Muslim until and unless a declaration is made by the Syariah Court that he no longer is a Muslim.”

Rosnani said the application of judicial review was dismissed with costs to the health ministry director-general, Sungai Buloh Hospital director, Selangor Government, Malaysian Government and Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS).

She added the High Court interim order dated June 1, this year, which disallowed the hospital to release the body to any party until disposal of the civil proceedings was quashed

Mohan’s family applied for judicial review to quash a decision by the ministry’s director-general and hospital director for not allowing it (family) to claim his body from the hospital as well as requesting a confirmation from MAIS whether the deceased died a Muslim or otherwise.

The judicial review contained a mandamus order the ministry’s director-general and hospital director release Mohan’s body to the family for cremation, according to Sikh religious rites.

Muslim burial

Rosnani said the decision by the ministry director-general and hospital director not to release the body of the deceased to the applicants was justified and reasonable as the Shah Alam Syariah High Court issued a declaration that Mohan died a Muslim. Therefore MAIS would be the appropriate authority to conduct a Muslim burial for him.

Mohan, whose Muslim name was Mohammad Hazzery Shah Mohan Abdullah, died at an apartment in Damansara Damai on June 25, this year, as a result of heart attack according to a post-mortem at the hospital.

At the proceeding, the applicants comprised the deceased’s sisters Baldi Kaur, J Belvikohr (Belvikohr), Jaswant Kaur and P Nagamuthu.

They were represented by counsel Rajesh Kumar.

One of the respondents, MAIS, was represented by Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar while Mohd Radhi Abbas appeared for the other respondents, Malaysian Government, ministry director-general and hospital director.

Mohd Radhi told reporters after the judgement that MAIS would be responsible in giving a Muslim burial to the deceased.

Meanwhile, MAIS public relations officer Rohana Hassan told reporters the agency would claim the body for burial in the evening at the Muslim cemetery in Sungai Buloh.

However, she said MAIS would allow Mohan’s family to pay their last respects to the deceased before burial.