KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here yesterday dismissed a request by lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla to become an intervenor in an application by the then Chief Justice (CJ) to strike out parts of a supporting affidavit by Court of Appeal judge Datuk Dr Hamid Sultan Abu Backer in an originating summons filed by the daughter of the late Karpal Singh.
Judge Datuk Mohd Firuz Jaffril made the decision after finding that there were no merits in the application filed by Mohamed Haniff as the proposed intervenor.
Mohd Firuz in his judgment said the court agreed with the submission of the respondent (Chief Justice) that Mohamed Haniff had failed to demonstrate how his rights and interest would be directly affected by this court’s decision on the respondent’s application to expunge certain portions of Justice Hamid Sultan’s affidavit in support of the application by Sangeet Kaur Deo as the applicant.
“The facts show that the statements made by Mohamed Haniff in his Facebook postings were not from his personal knowledge but based on what Justice Hamid Sultan told him.
“The proposed intervenor also confirmed that he had informed the police of the same upon being interviewed in the course of investigation. There is no change as to who gave the information regardless of whether the proposed intervenor’s application to intervene is dismissed or allowed,” the judge said.
Mohd Firuz said the reason that Mohamed Haniff was a practising lawyer under the Legal Profession Act (LPA) 1976 had a duty and right to participate in any proceeding conducted by him for any of his clients and that his name was on intitulement of these proceedings, was not good enough to support his application.
“As it is, at present, the Bar Council is already holding a watching brief and rightly so, as the Bar Council is the correct body to do so pursuant to the provisions of the LPA.
“The proposed intervenor requested to be amicus curiae whilst noble has to be considered in the light that he is the solicitor for justice Hamid Sultan. In this regard, the court cannot allude to such a request as it would lead to a conflict between Mohamed Haniff representing his client’s interest and being a friend of the court.
“This may lead to an issue of perception and put the proposed intervenor and this court in an embarrassing position,” he said.
Mohamed Haniff, who filed the application last July 26, sought to be an intervenor and also to be named as a party in the CJ’s application to strike out parts of a supporting affidavit filed by Hamid Sultan on the grounds that he (Mohamed Haniff) had personal interest in the case and as the counsel in an application to strike out the affidavit.
If the application is dismissed, Mohamed Haniff wants to be allowed to be in court as an amicus curiae (friend of the court) during hearing of the CJ’s application.
Sangeet filed the originating summons last Jan 14 over an alleged interference by the judiciary in the outcome of her father’s sedition case and on the religious conversion of three Hindu children.
She is seeking a declaration that the CJ then, Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, had failed to perform his duties as the head of the judiciary to defend the integrity and credibility of the judiciary when he failed to complete investigations relating to two very serious allegations of judicial interference within the Malaysian judiciary in relation to the decision on her father’s sedition appeal and in the case of a mother, M. Indira Gandhi , a kindergarten teacher, over the conversion of her children to Islam.
Malanjum retired on April 12, this year.
Sangeet claimed that the issue cropped up when Mohamed Haniff issued a statement that the result of the appeal in the Sedition Act case of the late Karpal Singh had been amended due to judicial intervention by a senior judge and the matter was reported by a news portal, Free Malaysia Today, on Aug 22, 2018.
On March 29, the Federal Court acquitted the late Karpal Singh of a sedition charge for allegedly questioning the late Sultan of Perak’s action relating to the Perak crisis after ruling that there was a serious misdirection of law by the High Court and Court of Appeal as both courts failed to evaluate the former DAP national chairman’s (Karpal Singh’s) defence.
The apex court had also allowed an appeal to set aside Karpal Singh’s conviction and fine of RM1,800. His widow Gurmit Kaur, 70, acted as a substitute appellant in the appeal. — Bernama