PUTRAJAYA — August 25, 2015: The Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) and two others cannot appeal to the Federal Court on a ruling which declared unlawful its action in raiding a Borders bookstore and seizing some books three years agp.
This followed a decision by a three-member panel chaired by Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria which dismissed the application for leave to appeal by Jawi, the Home Minister and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Islamic religious affairs.
The application was dismissed on the grounds that the three legal questions posed by the appellants did not fulfill the threshold requirement under Section 96 (a) of the Courts of Judicature Act.
“The decision of the High Court and Court of Appeal raises an important issue of law. We are not saying the decision was right or wrong,” said Arifin
who sat with Federal Court judges Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar and Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop.
Earlier in the proceeding, Arifin had questioned on how the court could proceed to determine the questions of law since there were no charges against Berjaya Books merchandising general manager Stephen Fung Wye Keong and Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz, the store manager for Borders at The Gardens, Mid-Valley.
Nik Raina was given an discharge not amounting to an acquittal by the Syariah Court last February 26 on a charge of disseminating and distributing,
by way of selling Irshad Manji’s book entitled “Allah, Liberty and Love, which was deemed un-Islamic.
Jawi appealed against the decision, but subsequently withdrew its appeal last June 23.
The department had conducted a raid at the bookstore on May 23, 2012, subsequently arresting Nik Raina who was then charged at the Syariah Court.
On June 18, 2012, Borders filed for leave to commence a judicial review on the legality of the raid, the process and prosecution of Nik Raina at a time
when there was no ban of the publication.
The High Court then granted leave for Borders to commence judicial review proceedings against Jawi’s raid which seized several of the books.
On March 22 last year, the High Court allowed the judicial review to quash Jawi’s action and the Court of Appeal, on December 30 last year, upheld the High Court’s decision.
The Court of Appeal had said there was no fatwa (edict), declaration or circular issued by Jawi or by any other religious authority banning the
publication and sale of the book at the time the department conducted the raid.
It also said the Home Minister only issued the prohibition order six days after the seizure of the book and publication of the gazette on
June 14, 2012. — Bernama