Err do judges read TOC, TRE etc?

In Political governance on 04/04/2012 at 5:57 pm

I was pleasantly surprised to read that a High Court judge on Tuesday dismissed the attorney-general’s arguments to have an application dismissed. The application had asked the court to determine the prime minister’s discretionary powers in calling by-elections in Singapore.

What this means is that the Court is satisfied that there is an arguable case and that the courts recognise the need for clarification on the constitutional questions raised in the application. It does not mean that the court has made a decision against the prime minister on the merits of the application.

As a trained lawyer, I tot that the court would strike out the application on the grounds as argued by the attorney-general’s representative in court that the application was “wholly misconceived”, “legally unsustainable and unarguable in law and fact”.

I tot that the application was made too early*. The lady who sought it should have waited until July (about six months after the seat was deemed vacated) before trying her luck.

I tot the only issues would be whether the AG would ask for punitive costs to deter future “frivolous” applications by cleaners and other “lesser mortals”, and whether the court would do agree to do so.

But never mind, it’s gd that the court is prepared to hear the application, and not rely on a technicality to dismiss it.

Which brings me to the point of this posting.

I believe that a famous American judge once said that the American Supreme Court judges read the newspapers, implying that they are aware of political and social trends. When I was a law student in England, the English judges had a reputation for claiming not to follow social or political developments. They often even claimed ignorance of daily life. When I was back in S’pore, I was sure that the local  judges didn’t read the constructive, nation-building local newspapers. And who can blame them?

But going by this result, I’m sure that one judge, at least, even if he doesn’t read the local newspapers, must read some of the sociopolitical blogs. So Ravi, you may have done some good at TOC. And Richard, keep on plugging away, legal threats, trolls, flamers and unhappy family members.

Update at 6.30pm on $ AApril 2012: Juz read The attorney-general is dissatisfied with the decision of judge Philip Pillai and has filed a Notice of Appeal against the decision by the Honourable Judge and they have filed a Summons application for the Appeal to be heard on an urgent basis.

Sore loser. Let justice be seen to be done. And not hide under behind technicalties.


*The Prime Minister had already announced in Parliament on 9 March that he “intend[s] to call a by-election in Hougang”, and that the court has no jurisdiction in compelling the Prime Minister to call one within any specific time frames. It also argued that  “a court’s power to intervene in an act of the Executive is premised… on there being a controversy requiring such intervention … is no such controversy in the present case … the Prime Minister has not refused to exercise his discretion, there is no executive decision that could legitimately be the subject of a judicial review.” (Yahoo! report).

  1. PAP will just change the constitution if they lose the case. That’s why you MUST stop them from having 2/3 majority.

  2. The AGC’s “technical” arguments against the application totally reflects the government’s low regard for citizens’ rights. This application and the AGC’s mishandling have now possibly open a few cans of worms, that they are now scrambling to close. It would be a telling outcome, whichever way it goes.

  3. Pillai is going to get the Khoo treatment soon.

  4. […] By-Election – Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: Err do judges read TOC, TRE etc? – TOC: AGC appeals against decision in by-election […]

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