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Monday, February 22, 2021

High Court allows Hindraf to commence legal challenge against deregistration

 


The Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) was allowed to proceed with its legal challenge against the Registrar of Societies' (ROS) deregistration of the group.

This afternoon, the Kuala Lumpur High Court granted leave to the group to commence with a judicial review to overturn the deregistration.

The next step on a later date is hearing the merits of the group’s judicial review application proper.

The group, through its officer bearer and former minister in the prime minister’s department in charge of national unity and social wellbeing, P Waytha Moorthy (above), filed the legal action on Dec 22 last year.

Hindraf has sought to overturn two related decisions: firstly, the one on Sept 30, 2019, by the ROS director-general to deregister the group; and secondly, the one on Aug 7 last year by the home minister that upheld the earlier deregistration decision.

The minister’s decision was in relation to Hindraf’s appeal against the deregistration.

Judge Mariana Yahya delivered her decision to parties via email this afternoon. 

Earlier, proceedings were conducted via exchanges of email.

When contacted, the group’s counsel, Annou Xavier, confirmed that it was granted leave to proceed with the judicial review.

Senior federal counsel (SFC) Liew Horng Bin, who represented the minister and the ROS director-general, also confirmed that the judge granted leave to the group to proceed with the judicial review.

“In this case, since the AGC (Attorney-General’s Chambers acting for the minister and ROS director-general) did not object against the leave application, leave was granted (by the judge),” he said when contacted today.

The SFC added that the legal action is fixed for further case management before the Kuala Lumpur High Court Registry on March 8.

Through the judicial review, Hindraf claimed that the ROS director-general had sought to deregister the group for alleged contravention of the Societies Act 1966.

The group alleged that it had then replied through letters to the RoS director-general on Sept 26 and 30, 2019, which sought to provide proof for the deregistration not to be carried out.

It claimed that, despite its replies, the RoS director-general on Sept 30, the same year, issued a letter to deregister the organisation.

Hindraf claimed it had sent a letter dated Oct 24, 2019, to the home minister to appeal against the ROS director-general’s decision.

The group claimed that the minister on Aug 7 this year informed Hindraf that the appeal was dismissed and the decision to deregister was upheld.

Hindraf is seeking a court order to compel the ROS director-general and the minister to cancel their decisions and register the group again, to take effect from Sept 30, 2019.

The NGO seeks a declaration that the two decisions to deregister it are illegal and thus null and void; and an order to temporarily suspend the two decisions, pending disposal of the judicial review application.

It also seeks cost in the cause and any other relief deemed fit by the court.

Hindraf came into the media spotlight following its rally in Kuala Lumpur in 2017 that sought to highlight alleged ethnically discriminatory policies in Malaysia. - Mkini

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