JABATAN PENDAFTARAN NEGARA & ORS v. SEORANG KANAK-KANAK & ORS; MAJLIS AGAMA ISLAM NEGERI JOHOR (INTERVENER)

[2020] 2 MLRA 487

JABATAN PENDAFTARAN NEGARA & ORS v. SEORANG KANAK-KANAK & ORS; MAJLIS AGAMA ISLAM NEGERI JOHOR (INTERVENER)
Federal Court, Putrajaya
Rohana Yusuf PCA, Azahar Mohamed CJM, David Wong Dak Wah CJSS, Zawawi Salleh, Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim, Idrus Harun, Nallini Pathmanathan FCJJ
[Civil Appeal No: 01-43-09-2017(W)]
13 February 2020

JUDGMENT

Rohana Yusuf PCA:

Introduction

[1] This appeal raises the issue of whether the Director General of National Registration ("DGNR") possesses the authority, under the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1957 ("the BDRA") to ascribe "bin Abdullah" instead of the biological father's name to the name of an illegitimate Muslim child in registering the birth of that child. Related to this issue is whether the DGNR in doing so was correct in giving consideration to the personal law of a Muslim person.

[2] The High Court had on 4 August 2016, ruled the legal issue by holding that the DGNR had such power, but it was reversed by the Court of Appeal on 25 May 2017. On the decision of the Court of Appeal, this court granted the DGNR and two others (the appellants) leave to appeal on three questions of law.

Background Facts

[3] The 1st respondent ("the Child") is the son of MEMK (the 2nd respondent) and NAW (the 3rd respondent). MEMK and NAW are both Muslims.

[4] The child was born in Johor on 17 April 2010 which was 5 months and 24 days (5 months and 27 days according to the Islamic Qamariah calendar) from the date of the marriage of MEMK with NAW, which took place on 24 October 2009. According to Muslim law, a child is illegitimate if he is born less than six qamariah months from the date of his parents' marriage. It is therefore undisputed that the Child is an illegitimate child under Muslim law.

[5] The Child's birth was registered late being two years after his birth. It was a late application made pursuant to ss 12(1) and also 13 of the BDRA. Section 13 relates to illegitimate child. At the time of making the application the parents jointly applied for MEMK's name to be entered in the Birth Register as the father of the Child.

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