Today’s state controlled newspapers carry headlines on the case of the Hougang woman suing the Government of Singapore for their delay in not holding by elections soon after that parliamentary seat because vacant when the incumbent was fired for extra marital affairs.
The case is well known and I need not go into the details.
The woman is represented by lawyer M Ravi.
The woman, as I understand it was in her law suit principally requesting that the court make a ruling that the Prime Minister "does not have unfettered discretion" on deciding when or if ever to call a by election in Hougang.
From the start the woman had no leg to stand on. It was a lost cause to begin with.
Firstly neither the Constitution nor the Parliamentary Elections Act makes any reference as to when a by election should be held. Since the law of Singapore, at least in theory (we know in practice Lee Ruling Family do whatever they want), is based on statute and furthermore, as there are no precedent case law on the issue under Singapore law, no such requirement on the Prime Minister exists.
Second, even if the court relies on English law, since under the Civil Law Act of Singapore, the applicable law when in doubt is the law of
And lastly, courts are required only to try triable issues, and not make policy or laws. Here as far as the grievance of the Hougang woman is concerned, on the facts, she has no case since there is no law or statute that supports her. As to her demand that the court make such a finding, about the “unfettered discretion” this is not the duty of any court, not even in
Her only recourse in ensuring that the Singapore Prime Minister is required to hold elections within 3 months by law is to pressure Singapore Parliament and her politicians to change the law of the land to state this.
But she cannot go to court and compel a judge to declare that the Prime Minister is required to hold elections in vacant wards since
This is one case which should never have been brought to court. I am sure the poor citizen of Hougang in whose name the action is brought hasn't the faintest clue about any of this. The responsible party in this case is her lawyer M Ravi. If he failed to inform his client that there is no merit whatsoever in this case, then he has failed in his duty. And he has also failed in his duty if he did not make the necessary basic research, which had he done so, he would have discovered to have no merit at all. And lastly if he knew that the case had no merit and went ahead nevertheless, he has once again failed.
All this is stated very clearly in Erskine May, the established authority on English Parliamentary practice.
Attorney at Law
Tel 510 657 6107 or 510 491 4375