Sept 21 decision on bid to remove bishop
by Kelimen Sawatan. Posted on August 4, 2012, Saturday
KOTA KINABALU: The High Court here set Sept 21 this year to deliver its decision on whether a member of a church has locus standi to bring an action for the removal of the church’s bishop.
High Court judicial commissioner Lee Heng Cheong will also decide on that day whether to maintain or set aside an interim injunction granted to the plaintiff to restrain the defendant from carrying his duties pending disposal of the suit.
Lee deferred his ruling after hearing the inter-parte arguments from counsel Rakhbir Singh who acted for the plaintiff and counsel Ronny Cham who acted for the bishop and the holder who are named as first and second defendants respectively in the said suit filed in June, this year.
Lee who heard the case in his chambers also ordered both parties to submit their written submissions pertaining to preliminary issues raised by the defendants.
In yesterday’s proceedings, the court also agreed to allow the holding over of the plaintiff’s interim injunction and court order granted against the Bishop ex-parte on July 18, this year, up to the said ruling date.
The interim injunction was that the first and/or the second defendant be restrained from carrying out their duties pertaining to any financial and/or management issues of and concerning the church in Sabah.
Earlier on Ronny submitted that the civil suit was in contravention of Section 9 (1) of the Government Proceedings Act 1956 as under the section, it states that no suit can be brought against religious trust without the consent of the State Attorney-General.
He also submitted that the plaintiff has no locus standi to bring an action for the removal of the Bishop under the Constitution of Diocese of Sabah.
In his suit filed on June 27, the plaintiff among others, claimed the defendants, one or more, jointly and severally, an order or a declaration that the first defendant is not a fit and proper person to hold the position as a bishop and an order that the first defendant be removed as bishop with immediate effect.
He is also seeking an order and/or a declaration that the trust instrument under the Trustees (Incorporation) Ordinance CAP 148 dated July 3, 1968 is illegal, invalid, null and void and has no further effect.