Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Justice Gopal Sri Ram it is!

Ousted Perak Menteri Besar Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin's final appeal at the Federal Court tomorrow [November 5 2009] will be closely watched as the reputation of the judiciary is at stake.

Speculations are rife if Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, Justice Richard Malanjum and highly-respected judge Justice Gopal Sri Ram may be on the bench.

This is because out of the 13 Federal Court judges, Malanjum and Gopal, along with recently elevated judge Justice Heliliah Mohd Yusoff have not taken part at all in the Perak case.

nizar interview parliament 261009
Chief Justice Zaki Azmi, along with recently elevated Justice Md Raus Sharif, who were part of the three-member bench at the Court of Appeal, that overturned the decision in favour of Zambry Abdul Kadir as the menteri besar, are not expected to be part of the panel to hear this appeal.

Zaki had said in the past that he is keeping himself out from handling political cases, owing the fact that he was Umno's legal advisor.

That leaves 11 judges to be selected to the bench tomorrow. However, the apex court can call or promote judges from the Court of Appeal as part of the panel as has been practised in the past.

Mohd Nizar (
above) had
applied for a full bench of 11 judges to hear the appeal that he hopes could end the Perak political imbroglio.

President of Court of Appeal Alauddin Mohd Sheriff and Chief Judge of Malaya Arifin Zakaria have been permanent features in handling all Perak cases that comes before the Federal Court.

Certainly, impartiality, along with justice and fairness are important characteristics needed when hearing the case as outlined by Mohd Nizar in his affidavit in support of a full bench.

And certainly, to show impartiality, judges who have not played a role in any part of the Perak matter will be seen to have this characteristic.
Sri Ram delivered Metramac judgement

Sri Ram (
right), who was the most senior judge in the Court of Appeal prior to his elevation earlier this year, is scheduled to retire in about six months.
gopal sri ram
He is known for his bold and reputed judgment in the Vincent Tan vs MGG Pillai case.

His judgments are highly respected and have been used as guidelines for the lower courts.

One of his well-known judgments was in the Metramac case where in his decision, he implicated corporate figure Abdul Halim Saad, and former Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin, in having to pay damages to Fawziah Holdings Sdn Bhd.

Sri Ram remains a highly respected judge who is not only held in high regard by lawyers but the public as well.
Malanjum lone dissenter in Lina Joy case

The Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, who is the youngest to be appointed to the post, is seen as one of the better judges who is not only sharp but delivers excellent writen judgments.

Justice Malanjum was the only dissenting judge on the apex court who sat in the controversial Lina Joy conversion case.

Many have commended his reasons and basis to dissent the majority judgment that ruled that Lina had to go to the Syariah Court to renounce Islam.

He had ruled to allow Lina to change the status of her religion in her identity card, as she could not get legal recourse in the Syariah Court.

Mohd Nizar in a press statement on the eve of his case is hoping that the presiding judges selected for his case are well versed in constitutional law.
Judiciary's reputation at stake

"At a time when the reputation of the judiciary is being questioned, the public expects a fair trial," said Nizar.
"I venture to suggest certain judges have been conspicuous by their absence although they are eminently qualified. Why have they been sidelined?
"The best way to convince the public that the hearing tomorrow is a fair one is to ensure that all Federal Court Judges sit on that day as this case is of national importance," he added.

He said public perception is that justice must be seen to be done.

Besides the judges mentioned above, the other federal court judges are justices S Augustine Paul, Hashim Yusoff, Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin, Ghazali Mohd Yusoff, James Foong and Abdul Hamid Embong.

There will be five judges, identities yet unknown, who will first hear Mohd Nizar's application for a full bench.
[Source: Malaysiakini]

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