SIS Revision of Kartika’s Case Turned Down by Registrar of the Kuantan Syariah Courts

SIS Revision of Kartika’s Case Turned Down
by Registrar of the Kuantan Syariah Courts

No one has a right to filter applications 3 October 2009

Sisters in Islam (SIS) is shocked that its application for Revision on Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno’s case was turned down by the Assistant Registrar of the Kuantan Syariah High Court yesterday. The SIS lawyer in Pahang was taken aback when the Assistant Registrar returned all documents that were filed, together with the court fees paid, on 18 September 2009. This unprecedented action from the office of the Registrar is a clear violation of the court process as all applications filed and duly paid must be accepted and heard.

The Registrar or any court officer has no right to filter any applications. The Courts duty is to accept such applications and then it is for the Judiciary to hear all cases. Rejecting the application at the filing stage tantamounts to denying the right of a party to be heard, and in this particular case, denying SIS the right to be heard. The system of filtering of applications has no place in a free and fair judicial system. This erratic action brings disrepute to the Syariah judicial system.

The Revision filed by SIS at the Syariah High Court in Kuantan also asked for a stay of execution of Kartika’s sentence of whipping. SIS maintains that it is acting in the public interest so as to resolve the controversies and to provide clarity on the legality of the whole court process. SIS and other members of the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) also held a press conference on 30 September expressing concern when the media reported that the Pahang Syariah Chief Judge had reviewed the revision that was filed by himself earlier.

The media reported that the revision was heard in a departmental meeting between the Pahang Religious Department (JAIP) and the Pahang Syariah Chief Judge on 28 September and it was later announced that the whipping sentence for Kartika would proceed. Section 168 of the Pahang Syariah Criminal Procedure Enactment 2002 states that only the Syariah Court of Appeal has the power to review a Syariah High Court decision, not a departmental meeting. SIS reiterates that the issue of Kartika and whipping as a form of criminal punishment have to be resolved through a valid and clear legal process.

As a moderate and progressive Muslim country, Malaysia must uphold the rule of law and ensure that justice is done. Kartika’s case has created uproar at the national and international levels and caused damage to Malaysia’s reputation as a model Muslim country.

Dr Hamidah Marican
Executive Director
Sisters In Islam

3 October 2009