PUTRAJAYA: The inquest into the death of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim will continue as scheduled after the Court of Appeal postponed the hearing for a motion to stay the inquest by Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple’s task force.
The Court of Appeal yesterday told the lawyers representing the task force, headed by counsel M. Visvanathan, that it would hear the motion on March 4.
The three-member bench led by judge Datuk Umi Kalthum Abdul Majid also rejected Visvanathan’s application for an interim (temporary) motion to stay the inquest pending the March 4 hearing.
Umi Kalthum said given that the inquest was a matter of public interest, the case should not be stayed.
“We are obliged to hear you but for an interim stay, you have to let it go,” she added.
March 4 was also chosen to allow the Attorney General’s Chambers to file an affidavit in reply to the temple task force’s motion to stay the inquest proceedings, pending the appeal for the task force to be an interested party in the inquest.
Umi Kalthum also requested the task force’s lawyers to specify the legal entities asking for the stay.
“Visvanathan and his team need to clarify the legal standing of the task force in bringing the action as an interested party,” she said.
On the bench with Umi Kalthum were judges Datuk Harmindar Singh Dhaliwal and Datuk Stephen Chung Hian Guan.
When met outside the courtroom, Visvanathan said the temple task force’s lawyers would now need to clarify its legal standing.
“Basically, the judges want to know when you say task force, who are they? Are they a registered society? What is their legal standing?
“Secondly, the AG’s Chambers didn’t file an affidavit in reply to our application for a stay of the inquest proceedings, and the court has granted them time to reply to our affidavit,” he told reporters.
He said the lawyers would also file an appeal to sit in as an interested party in the ongoing inquest 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.
The inquest, which will enter its ninth day on Monday, was ordered by Attorney General Tommy Thomas in accordance with Section 339 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Muhammad Adib, 24, was critically injured on Nov 27 when he and his team members from the Subang Jaya fire station responded to an emergency call at the temple where riots were happening that day.
He was taken to Subang Jaya Medical Centre before being transferred to National Heart Institute (IJN) for further treatment. He passed away at IJN on Dec 17.