The Federal Constitution is supreme, the State cannot exclude the judiciary, according to the SIS

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KLANG: Sisters in Islam (SIS) has welcomed the Federal Court’s decision declaring Section 66A of the Administration of the Religion of Islam (Selangor State) Act 2003 (ARIE) as unconstitutional.

The ruling issued by a nine-judge Federal Court panel on Monday (Feb. 21) ruled that state Sharia courts do not have jurisdiction to hear judicial reviews against decisions of state religious bodies.

SIS Executive Director Rozana Isa said in a statement that Section 66A of the Act only came into force in May 2015 after SIS obtained permission from the High Court to conduct a judicial review of the 2014 fatwa issued against him.

“The Federal Court’s decision to strike down Section 66A of the ARIE as unconstitutional is proof that the Federal Constitution is supreme and that the state cannot override and exclude the judiciary from decision-making.

“With this matter now resolved, we can now focus on our pending appeal (against the fatwa) before the Court of Appeal,” Rozana said in a statement.

She said the Federal Court judgment also declared that judicial reviews were an inherent right of civil courts and that the courts’ interpretation of the definition of Muslims as natural persons was also groundbreaking.

However, Rozana added that the SIS was also cautious about the judgment of the Federal Court regarding the content of the fatwa, which was still within the jurisdiction of the Selangor Syariah courts.

“We still have a long way to go as SIS’s journey to uphold the right to speak out on justice and Muslim women’s rights is far from over.

“No matter what, SIS will continue to fight for Muslim women’s rights despite the challenges,” she said.

The SIS, in a separate action, had also initiated a judicial review against the Majlis Agama Islam Selangor (MAIS), the Selangor state fatwa committee and the Selangor government after the religious body issued a fatwa, which declared the SIS deviant for subscribing to liberalism and religion. pluralism.

The Federal Court said on Monday that the Selangor legislature does not have the power to make a law, which gives the state Sharia court the power to review fatwas issued by religious authorities in the country. State.

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