Lawyer Sangeet Kaur seeks declaration CJ failed in duty to preserve integrity

Sangeet Kaur Deo says the Chief Justice must investigate the alleged judicial interference as they were serious attacks on the integrity and credibility of the courts.

KUALA LUMPUR: A lawyer is seeking a declaration against Chief Justice Richard Malanjum for failing in his duty to complete investigation into two widely publicised cases of judicial interference.

The first is the late Karpal Singh’s sedition appeal before the Court of Appeal, where an allegation was made by lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla and published by Free Malaysia Today on Aug 22 last year.

In the second case, Court of Appeal judge Hamid Sultan Abu Backer claimed at an international law conference on Aug 16 that a top judge had interfered in the M Indira Gandhi unilateral conversion case.

In her originating summons filed in the High Court today, lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo said Malanjum was duty bound to investigate the matters as they were serious attacks on the integrity and credibility of the judiciary.

Sangeet, who is Karpal’s daughter, said that as an interested party, she was adversely affected and entitled to all information and findings conducted by the judiciary.

She wants a declaration that the chief justice has failed in his duty to preserve and protect the integrity of the judiciary as a result of his Nov 26 media statement.

In that statement, Malanjum said the judiciary had to suspend investigation into the allegations of judicial interference in Karpal’s sedition appeal because of an ongoing police investigation and the pending appeal before the Federal Court.

He also said the investigation could not be carried out for alleged misconduct under the Judges Code of Ethics 2009 and Judge Ethics Committee Act 2010 since the judge in question had retired.

He said the probe could also not be carried out since the three Court of Appeal judges were still serving.

Sangeet said Malanjum’s announcement in the press statement to temporarily suspend investigation into her father’s case amounted to an act of bad faith.

On Aug 31, Malanjum said an internal investigation was underway following reports of alleged interferences by senior judges in the two high-profile cases.

Hamid revealed at the law conference he was “severely reprimanded” by the top judge for his dissenting judgment in Indira’s case.

He said he was subsequently not assigned or selected for panels to hear cases relating to the Federal Constitution and public interest matters.

Judges Balia Yusof Wahi and Badariah Sahamid, who were in the majority, set aside the 2013 High Court ruling which quashed the conversion certificates of Indira’s three children.

However, a five-member Federal Court bench affirmed Hamid’s decision to revoke the conversion certificate of Indira’s children who are minors.

In the other case, Haniff said he was informed that a senior judge had reportedly meddled in the majority decision to allow Karpal’s appeal and acquit him of a sedition charge.

“The panel was asked to reverse the ruling,” the lawyer, who usually appears for Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad in civil cases, had said in a Facebook post.

Sangeet then lodged a police report on Aug 23 over Haniff’s allegation.

Karpal was charged with saying the removal of Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as menteri besar by the late Perak Sultan, Sultan Azlan Shah in 2009, and the appointment of Zambry Abdul Kadir in his place could be questioned in court.

On Feb 21, 2014, the High Court found Karpal guilty, but he died in a road accident two months later.

His conviction was upheld by the Court of Appeal on May 30, 2016.

The majority, comprising justices Mohtarudin Baki and Kamardin Hashim, allowed Karpal’s appeal against his RM4,000 fine and reduced it to RM1,800.

Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, however, ruled in favour of Karpal to set aside the conviction.

Police recorded a statement from Haniff but the lawyer said he declined to reveal the source of his information.