PUTRAJAYA: The inquest into the death of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim can continue, as the hearing for the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple's task force's motion for a stay of the inquest has been postponed to next week.
The Court of Appeal on Friday (Feb 22) told the lawyers representing the task force, led by counsel M. Visvanathan, that it will hear the motion on March 4.
The three-member bench, led by Judge Umi Kalthum Abdul Majid, said the task force's lawyers needed to specify the legal entities asking for the stay.
"We have not gone through the threshold that the applicant has legal standing," said Umi Kalthum.
She also asked the team from the Attorney General's Chambers to reply to the affidavit by the temple task force's lawyers.
Visvanathan then asked for an interim motion for stay pending the March 4 hearing, but his request was denied.
Umi Kalthum said as it was a matter of public interest, the case should not be stayed.
"We all know that it is of public knowledge that the inquest is in the public interest, and it can be quite inflammatory. For public interest, this matter should not be stayed.
"We are obliged to hear you but for interim stay, you have to let it go," she added.
When met outside the courtroom, Visvanathan said that the temple task force's lawyers would now need to clarify the legal standing of the task force.
"Basically the judges want to know the legal standing of the task force – when you say task force, who are they?
"Are they a registered society? What is the legal standing?
"The court gave us an opportunity to explain legal standing of the task force.
"Secondly, the AG's Chambers didn't file an affidavit in reply to our application for stay for the inquest proceedings, and the court has granted them time to reply our affidavit," he told reporters.
He said the lawyers would also file an appeal to sit in as an interested party in the inquest, which is currently ongoing at the Shah Alam Sessions Court.
The Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple task force and 50 devotees of the temple had earlier failed in their bid to be an interested party and participate in the inquest.
Their bid was dismissed by Judge Rofiah Mohamad, who sits as coroner for the inquest, and later by Shah Alam High Court judge Justice Abdul Karim Abdul Rahman.
Attorney General Tommy Thomas ordered the inquest in accordance with Section 339 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Muhammad Adib was critically injured when he and his team mates from the Subang Jaya fire station responded to an emergency at the temple where riots were happening last November.
He was taken to SJMC before being transferred to the National Heart Institute (IJN) for further treatment.
He passed away on Dec 17 at 9.41pm at IJN.