June 07, 2010
KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 — A non-Muslim woman lawyer, who obtained leave in her preliminary legal bid to be a syarie lawyer, has filed a judicial review application to challenge a decision that only Muslim lawyers are allowed to practise in the Syariah Court in the Federal Territory.
In her application filed on May 19, Victoria Jayaseele Martin also sought an order of certiorari to quash the decision by the Federal Territory Religious Council, through the syarie lawyer committee, refusing her application to be admitted as a syarie lawyer.
Victoria, 48, wants a mandamus order to compel the religious council to accept her as a syarie lawyer.
She also wants a declaration that Rule 10 of the Syarie Lawyer Rules 1993, mandating that only Muslims can be admitted as syarie lawyers, had contravened Articles 8, 5 and 10 of the Federal Constitution.
In the application, Victoria named the religious council as respondent.
Her counsel, Ranjit Singh, told the media that no date was fixed for the hearing of the application.
On May 14, High Court judge Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh granted Victoria’s leave application for judicial review for an order to compel the religious council to accept her as a syarie lawyer, after rejecting its (council’s) preliminary objection to the leave application.
This is the first test case in Kuala Lumpur of a non-Muslim lawyer being given leave to challenge the ruling that only Muslim lawyers are allowed to practise in the Syariah Court here.
In the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, a key requirement to become a syarie lawyer is that one has to be Muslim.
Victoria, who obtained a diploma in Syariah Law and Practice in 2004 from the International Islamic University Malaysia, had sought legal action at the civil court after her application to be admitted as a syarie lawyer was rejected by the religious council. — Bernama