Senior Judge Files Suit Against Judges Ethics Committee Over Affidavit
Court of Appeal judge Hamid Sultan Abu Backer has gone to court to challenge the Judges Ethics Committee's investigation into his affidavit regarding alleged abuses and fraud in the judiciary.
The senior judge, through law firm Messrs KH Lim & Co, filed his originating summons at the Kuala Lumpur High Court Registry on Oct 9.
According to the cause papers sighted by Malaysiakini this afternoon, the suit named the chairperson of the Judges Ethics Committee, the Judges Ethics Committee as well as lawyers Sangeet Kaur Deo and Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla as the four defendants in the matter.
On Aug 16, it was reported that Hamid Sultan had received a show cause letter from the Judges Ethics Committee in relation to the affidavit.
Hamid Sultan had made several claims in his affidavit filed in February last year, prompting the then Pakatan Harapan government to mull a royal commission of inquiry.
However, the commission did not materialise as the Harapan government collapsed in late February this year.
Sangeet had relied on Hamid Sultan’s affidavit in her lawsuit against the chief justice over alleged judicial misconduct. However, the Kuala Lumpur High Court dismissed her suit on Oct 22 last year.
Sangeet Kaur Deo
Haniff Khatri had previously tried but had not succeeded in his bid to intervene in Sangeet’s lawsuit against the chief justice.
According to the cause papers, Hamid Sultan also filed an originating summons to challenge the Judges Ethics Committee’s investigation into his ruling in a Court of Appeal matter involving PP vs Aluma Mark Chinonso & Another, delivered on June 17 this year.
Hamid Sultan claimed, among others, that it was improper and unlawful for the committee to assume jurisdiction to inquire into the alleged complaints as well as prosecute and adjudicate on these complaints and “perhaps arrive at any decision arising therefrom against the plaintiff.”
“The impugned affidavit and impugned (Court of Appeal) judgment ought not to be determined at all by this committee let alone be the subject matter of the notice. The proper forum at this stage would be a royal commission of inquiry for the affidavit and the apex court for the judgment,” Hamid Sultan argued.
The senior judge claimed that his affidavit was subject to absolute privilege as it was filed in the civil suit by Sangeet.
“The plaintiff (myself) is both competent and compellable as a witness in law. Hence, the impugned affidavit cannot be the subject of any alleged breaches of the (Judges) Code (of Ethics 2009) especially in view that the impugned affidavit was written pursuant to the plaintiff’s constitutional oath of office to expose judicial misconduct,” Hamid Sultan further said.
Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla
He also claimed that his ruling in the Court of Appeal matter was subject to privilege and that the Judges Ethics Committee had no power to deal with the said ruling due to it being the subject matter of a further appeal at the Federal Court, among others.
Among the reliefs that Hamid Sultan sought from the legal action was whether it was a proper exercise of power by the Judges Ethics Committee to investigate the complaints with respect to the affidavit when the previous cabinet had called for a royal commission over the matters raised in the said affidavit.
Other reliefs sought were for all proceedings before the Judges Ethics Committee to be stayed until further orders and/or a determination by the High Court.
Checks on the online cause list website showed that Hamid Sultan’s legal action has been fixed for case management before the Kuala Lumpur High Court at 9am on Nov 4.
When contacted by Malaysiakini this afternoon, the plaintiff’s solicitor Joy W Appukuttan said the suit’s cause papers have been served on the Judges Ethics Committee, its chairperson as well as Haniff Khatri.
In regards to Sangeet, the lawyer said that formal service of the cause papers on her would be done in due course. - Mkini
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