Wednesday April 2, 2008
Hindraf 5 victimised by minister, court hears
By RAPHAEL WONG
PUTRAJAYA: The five Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders have been victimised by the Internal Security Minister, who abused his powers when he directly resorted to issuing detention orders against them without arrests and detention pending inquiries, the Federal Court heard.
Counsel Karpal Singh said the detention orders made by the minister amounted to an exercise of dictatorial powers.
"This is not a police state where a minister can exercise his discretion as he likes. Therefore the Judiciary is the last bastion to prevent excesses of the Executive," he said, adding that the apex court should act without fear or favour and rule that the detention order against the five Hindraf leaders was unlawful and void.
On Feb 26, the five Hindraf leaders detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) failed to secure an order from the High Court for their release from what they claimed as unlawful detention.
High Court judicial commissioner Zainal Azman Ab Aziz threw out the applications, saying that the detention orders issued by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Dec 13 last year, were valid under the law.
Abdullah, in his capacity as Internal Security Minister, had issued the two-year detention orders against M. Manoharan, P. Uthayakumar, V. Ganabatirau, R. Kengadharan, and K. Vasantha Kumar under Section 8(1) of the Act.
At Wednesday's proceedings, Karpal Singh also said the trial judge was wrong when he failed to conclude that there was no exceptional circumstances for the minister to resort directly to detain the five men under Section 8(1) of the Act.
He said the police force was able enough to conduct investigations against the five men and submit a report to the minister, who in turn, could then make a detention order, if necessary.
"I do not see how a minister, on his own, can take on the role of Sherlock Holmes and investigate before making the detention order.
"We accept the concerns of the minister but his decision cannot be subjective and arbitrary," he said.
Karpal Singh also submitted that the minister had acted mala fide adding that the orders were made for a collateral or ulterior purpose – a purpose not envisaged by Parliament when it passed the ISA in 1960.
"The public does not support Manoharan's detention and this is evident as they elected him as the Kota Alam Shah state assemblyman during the recent elections," he said, adding that the people wanted a fast and fair judicial verdict.
Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail will submit before Chief Judge of Malaya Justice Alauddin Mohd Sheriff as well as Federal Court judges Justices Arifin Zakaria and Hashim Mohd Yusoff on Thursday.