De Alwis v De Alwis and Yeo Giak Choo

JurisdictionMalaysia
CourtObsolete Court (Malaysia)
Judgment Date05 Jul 1947
Docket NumberCase No. 195
Malayan Union, Supreme Court.

(Willan, C.J.)

Case No. 195
De Alwis (or Jayatilaka)
and
de Alwis and Yeo Giak Choo.

Belligerent Occupation — Administrative Functions of Occupant — Appointment of Registrar of Christian Marriages — Celebration of Marriage by Registrar — Validity of Marriage — Law of Malayan Union.

Belligerent Occupation — Lawful Acts of Occupying Power — Hague Regulations, Article 43 — Japanese Occupation of Malaya — Appointment by Occupant of Registrar of Christian Marriages — Validity of Marriages Celebrated by Registrar — Law of Malayan Union.

The Facts.—This was a suit for divorce on the grounds of the adultery of the husband. Following the usual practice the petitioner was called upon to prove the marriage between herself and the respondent. It appeared that the marriage was solemnized during the Japanese occupation of Malaya by a Registrar of Marriages duly appointed in accordance with the Christian Marriage Enactment by the Japanese occupying authorities. The facts leading up to the appointment of the Registrar are fully set out in the judgment of the Court. No argument was addressed to the Court contesting the validity of the marriage: for the petitioner it was contended that, since the marriage was solemnized in accordance with the Christian Marriage Enactment by a Registrar of Marriages whose appointment complied with the requirements of that Enactment, the marriage was valid.

Held: that the marriage had been validly solemnized and remained valid after the resumption of British jurisdiction in Malaya because it complied with the local law in all material particulars. The Court said:

“By virtue of Part VI of the Christian Marriage Enactment (Cap. 109) of the Federated Malay States, Christian marriages may be solemnised by a Marriage Registrar. Marriage Registrars are appointed by the Residents of States, under the provisions of section 6 of that Enactment, the relevant portion of which is as follows:

‘The Resident of any State may appoint one or more Christians, either by name or as holding any office for the time being, to be the Marriage Registrar or Marriage Registrars for such State or for any place therein and may revoke any such appointment.’

“On the question of the validity of this particular marriage I heard the evidence of Mr. P. Samuel, Assistant Registrar, Supreme Court, who was appointed Marriage Registrar for the State of Selangor during the Japanese occupation, and also the evidence of Mr. K. K. Benjamin, an...

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