PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court has reserved its judgment on a bid by Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin to seek a review of an application relating to his release from detention without trial.
Raja Petra had challenged last Tuesday’s Federal Court decision in refusing to recuse Federal Court Justice Augustine Paul from hearing the Home Minister’s appeal against his release from detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA).
His lead counsel Malik Imtiaz Sarwar submitted that only two Federal Court judges heard the recusal application on Feb 17 which rendered the sitting of the apex court unlawful and unconstitutional.
He said the sitting of two judges also contravened Article 128 (3) of the Federal Constitution concerning the jurisdiction of the Federal Court.
(Justices Nik Hashim Nik Ab Rahman and Justice Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin on Feb 17 ruled that they were satisfied that the recusal application by the editor was made without any merit.)
Malik faced a three-man panel led by Court of Appeal president Justice Alauddin Mohd Sheriff yesterday when asking for a review against the two-man panel’s decision over the recusal application.
He argued that Section 74 (1) of the same Act stated that every proceeding in the Federal Court shall be heard and disposed by a minimum of three judges.
“It is mandatory (to have) three judges or more,” he said, adding that the sitting of the two-man panel was therefore in contravention of Section 74 (1) of the same Act.
DPP Tun Abd Majid argued that Justice Paul had withdrawn from hearing the recusal application on Feb 17 and that his actions was correct, legal and consistent with case laws.
“The decision by the two-man bench was lawfully constituted,” he said.
He contended that the recusal application was tainted with malice.
Justice Alauddin, who sat together with Chief Judge of Malaya Justice Ariffin Zakaria and Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Justice Richard Malanjum reserved its ruling to a date yet to be fixed.
In another Federal Court, Justice Nik Hashim Nik Ab Rahman, Justice Paul and Justice Zulkefli adjourned the hearing for the appeal.
The prosecution is appealing against the decision of the Shah Alam High Court on Nov 7 last year which found Raja Petra’s two-year detention order under the Internal Security Act unlawful.