Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Civil Courts Will Not Usurp Syariah Court's Functions - Chief Justice.

In a statement that must come as a relief to concerned Muslims, the Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim has assured the public that the civil courts will not usurp the functions of the syariah court. He said that since the amendment to the Federal Constitution, the civil courts had never interfered with Islamic laws.

"We do not give interpretation on syariah law. What we are construing in our judgments are always interpretations to be given to the constitutional provisions. Members of the public should not fear that we will usurp the functions of the Syariah court."

He added that if the civil courts were to express any views on syariah matters, it was just obiter according to the civil court's jurisprudence. The civil court only decided on whether or not it could deal with matters touching on Islamic laws according to the Federal Constitution. "If the Constitution says it should be within the civil court's jurisdiction, we will be willing (to deal with it) but if it is something in the Syariah Court, we won't deal with it but will just say that it is within the jurisdiction of the syariah court.

"We are just interpreters of the Constitution. So we interpret the Constitution according to what it should be interpreted and what are the arguments before us. I don't know why the public can be confused," he said.

**** This comprehensive and convincing explanation by the CJ should put to rest any uneasiness among the Muslims regarding the role and intentions of the civil courts. Now if someone could do the same for the non-Muslims, how nice it would be! Alas, perhaps we ask for too much?


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