Federal Court stays decision to let illegitimate children adopt father’s name

MUSLIM couples cannot proceed to name their child conceived before marriage after the father, the Federal Court ruled today in a stay on the decision by a lower court.

The stay came about as the Johor Islamic Religious Council (MAIJ) had applied to intervene in the case, the Malay Mail Online reported.

The online daily said Chief Justice Md Raus Sharif, who chaired a three-man bench, fixed September 8 to hear MAIJ’s application for leave to intervene in the case.

The court, however, struck out another application to intervene by the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) to prevent more councils from wanting to intervene as well.

Lawyer Sulaiman Abdullah represented MAIJ and had told the federal court bench that the case had first been filed in Johor. As such, the state and its laws were related, MMO reported.

The Court of Appeal in May ruled that a child conceived out of wedlock to Muslim parents can take on the father’s name and need not be assigned the ‘bin Abdullah’ patronym.

The child was born less than six months from the date of the parent’s marriage and was given his father’s name but the National Registration Department (NRD) registered the child as “bin Abdullah” instead. The parents had lost their case in the High Court in August last year before going to the appellate court, which released its written judgement in July.

The NRD had acted on the basis of a 2003 fatwa by the National Fatwa Committee that a child conceived out of wedlock could not carry the name of the person who claimed to be the father if the child was born less than six months into the marriage.

The Court of Appeal’s decision was hailed as a landmark judgement that outlined the fatwa committee’s legal limitation and affirmed that the NRD was bound to civil law.

The NRD, however, filed for leave of appeal at the Federal Court and to stay the matter. Its director-general also said that the department, which registers births and deaths, will continue to assign “bin Abdullah” to children born to Muslims out of wedlock. – August 21, 2017.

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