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Attorney-General (and former High Court Judge) Chao Hick Ting will ask the courts to dismiss the Originating Summons (OS) taken by Ms Chee Siok Chin to declare the general elections in 2006 null and void because of unconstitutional measure take by the PAP.
The reason? Ms Chee had not known that she was required to pay a deposit of $5,000 within three days of filing the OS.
Ms Chee was part of a group that had taken an Originating Motion against the Minister for Home Affairs and Commissioner of Police in 2005 for dispersing a 4-person silent protest outside the CPF Building. There was no requirement for a $5,000-deposit then.
Ms Chee had gone to the Elections Department (ED) to pay the deposit after she found out about the requirement. Initially the officials there accepted the payment. About 45 minutes later, they came back and said that they were not accepting it, citing the fact that the three-day deadline had passed.
One wonders if there had been any communication with the Prime Minister’s Office in which the ED operates. This is another important reason why the ED must function separately from, and independently of, the PMO.
This action by the AG shows how badly the PAP wants to avoid going to court on this matter. Lawyer M Ravi will argue that the case must not be dismissed based on a minor administrative technicality as the subject of dispute is of great public import (see Mr Ravi’s letter below).
The AG’s application will be heard on 12 Jun 06 at 10 am in the High Court.
6 Jun 06
Prime Minister’s Office
11 Prinsep Link
Attn: Mr Lee Seng Lup
ORIGINATING SUMMONS NO. 1017 OF 2006/W
1 We have been instructed to act for Ms Chee Siok Chin as Counsel in respect of the above matter.
2 Our client had filed the aforesaid application as litigant-in-person. Being a lay person, she was not conversant with legal procedure. Upon notification by the Attorney-General’s Chambers of the need to furnish security for costs, she immediately went to your office to offer payment of the said security. However, your officer Mr Lee Seng Lup refused to accept payment.
3 This refusal appears to be an attempt to foil the application on a technicality. This is regretful as the subject-matter of the application is of public interest. It is imperative that a full hearing should be conducted that the Elections Judge can adjudication on the merits.
4 In the circumstances, your refusal to accept the deposit is unreasonable and we will exhibit this letter to the Court at the hearing on 12th June 2006.
M Ravi & Co.