Lina Joy’s 10-year battle to be herself as she wanted to be within the confines of the supreme law of the country, the Federal Constitution, has been dashed by the Federal Court’s decision this morning. The freedom of religion guaranteed by the Federal Constitution under Article 11 comes across as hollow and meaningless. This decision has totally rendered null and void the freedom of religion guaranteed by the Federal Constitution.
Under the circumstances, the Federal Court’s decision has a devastating effect on issues of fairness and justice. Concerned citizens will rightly wonder whether the judiciary is capable of delivering justice for those who turn to it. They will be turned away from the judicial system of the country thinking that the judges who are sworn to uphold the Federal Constitution in the course of their duty are not living up to their oath of office.
Lina Joy’s case is something that has to be viewed strictly within the confines of the Constitution without taking into account any other consideration. When other considerations come into play, then justice becomes the victim as is the case in the Lina Joy verdict.
This decision, looked at from another point of view, undermines the judiciary itself. The judiciary cannot be technical in delivering its verdict. Fairness and justice should be part of any judgment and should not be sacrificed on technical grounds. Where is the compassion for someone who has turned to the judiciary for a solution to free her from her predicament? Can justice redeem itself? Is there hope for the ordinary person in our judiciary?
It is really troubling when a issue such as this is politicised and blown out of all proportion and pressure is mounted to deny justice.
Aliran Executive Committee
30 May 2007