Belinda has filed a divorce petition against Adrian (converted to Islam religion after marriage) in Civil Court after the period of three (3) months of conversion of Adrian, claiming maintenance and custody for her children against Adrian, pursuant to Section 51(1) of Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 (‘1976 Act’). Adrian then instructed his solicitor to bring forth the matter under Syariah Court on the grounds that he has converted into Muslim.
Pursuant to Section 51(2) of the 1976 Act, the civil Court has jurisdiction to make provision for the wife and husband, and the custody of the children from the marriage. It is the trite law that the husband could not shield himself behind the freedom of religion clause under Art 11(1) of the Federal Constitution to avoid his antecedent obligations under the 1976 Act on the ground that he has converted to Muslim. Thus, Adrian and Belinda are bound by the 1976 Act and Civil Court in respect of the divorce and custody of the children of the marriage notwithstanding Adrian’s conversion.
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