SINGAPORE - A High Court judge ruled yesterday that there are sufficient grounds to hear, in open court, an application by an Hougang resident to order the Prime Minister to hold a by-election in the constituency within three months or within a "reasonable time" deemed by the court.
Madam Vellama Marie Muthu, a 42-year-old part-time cleaner, had filed an application on March 2 for the Prime Minister to be held accountable for calling a by-election in Hougang, following the sacking of former Member of Parliament Yaw Shin Leong from the Workers' Party.
Judgement was reserved last Friday, after Mdm Vellama's lawyer, Mr M Ravi, and representatives from the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) - which represent the Government on legal matters - spent more than three hours presenting their arguments behind closed doors in Justice Philip Pillai's chambers.
Mdm Vellama's application had asked the court to declare that the Prime Minister does not have "unfettered discretion" in deciding whether and when to call by-elections. It also sought a Mandatory Order for the Prime Minister to call a by-election in Hougang within three months, or within a "reasonable time" determined by the court.
The AGC, represented by Chief Counsel David Chong, had argued that the application was "wholly misconceived" and "is legally unsustainable and is unarguable in law and fact".
Yesterday, Justice Pillai delivered his decision to allow the application to heard in open court in a full-day session on April 16.
It is understood that the court has also directed the AGC to submit parliamentary records on three earlier cases - at Havelock in 1983, and Anson and Geylang West in 1986 - where by-elections were not held and the vacated parliamentary seats were allowed to lapse until the next General Election.
Source: Today Online