PUTRAJAYA, July 13, 2015:
The Court of Appeal here has dismissed the appeal by Datuk Seri G. Palanivel and three others to set aside the Registrar of Societies’ (RoS) directive for MIC to hold fresh elections.
The Court of Appeal three-member panel chaired by Datuk Aziah Ali, together with Datuk Umi Kalthum Abdul Majid and Justice Vernon Ong Lam Kiat unanimously rejected the appeal on the grounds that RoS had not acted beyond its power.
“Under Section 3 (A) of the Societies Act, the provision confers that the power includes Section 16 (1) of the same Act,” said Aziah after a 30-minute stand down before delivering the verdict this morning.
The court had also ordered the four defendants to pay a cost of RM30,000 collectively to the first and second respondents — RoS and Home Ministry, as well as RM30,000 to the two intervenors Datuk M. Saravanan and Datuk S.A. Vigneswaran respectively.
Earlier, lawyer Ragunath Kesavan, who represented Palanivel and three others — Datuk S. Sothinathan, Datuk S. Balakrishnan and A. Pakash Rao, argued that RoS exceeded its authority and has no position to rely on Section 3 (A) of the Societies Act 1966 in its letter dated Feb 6.
Meanwhile, senior federal counsel Amarjeet Singh, who represented RoS and the Ministry, told the court that the registrar lawfully issued the directive under the same provision.
“This is because MIC’s constitution does not cater to this situation.
“It is not just any settlement that is sufficient for RoS to withdraw a Section 16 (1) notice but it must be settlement to the satisfaction of RoS.”
Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram appeared for Saravanan while Edmund Milkiu and Rita Jeremiah represented Vigneswaran.
On June 15, High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Asmabi Mohamad rejected their judicial review application and ordered MIC to hold fresh elections as the suggestion had came from Palanivel.
In December last year, RoS issued an order to MIC to hold fresh party elections for the Central Working Committee (CWC) members as well as the three posts of vice-president within 90 days, due to alleged irregularities and breach of the party’s constitution and Societies Act.
Palanivel and three others filed an application on Feb 24 to challenge the registrar’s directive.
Palanivel and the three applicants sought a declaration that party elections were subjected to the party’s constitution and not based on purview of RoS.
They were also challenging the directive by RoS as the party sought a declaration that the MIC annual general assembly in 2013 was valid and not null as proclaimed by RoS.