Mahkamah Khas Raja-Raja mendengar permohonan habeas corpus untuk “membebaskan” Sultan Kelantan.
The Special Court could not hear a application habeas corpus to “free” the Sultan of Kelantan as its panel was short of one judge.
The Ruler’s lawyer Gobind Singh Deo told newsmen that Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail had argued that the Special Court should consist of five judges, pointing out that only four had sat to hear the application yesterday.
Article 182 (1) of the Federal Constitution states that there must be a Chief Justice of the Federal Court (chairman), the Chief Judges of the High Courts, and two other persons, who hold or have held office as judge of the Federal Court or High Court, appointed by the Conference of Rulers.
However, the panel yesterday comprised only Chief Justice Tun Zaki Tun Azmi (chairman); Chief Judge of Malaya Justice Arifin Zakaria; Federal Court judge Justice Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin and High Court Justice Linton Albert.
While it was understood that the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Justice Richard Malanjum was overseas, it could not be confirmed whether Justice Linton was on the panel in Justice Malanjum’s place or was one of two judges appointed by the Conference of Rulers.
It was also not confirmed if Justice Zulkefli was appointed by the Rulers.
Gobind said that during the proceedings held in camera, the panel suggested that the issue over the number of judges be sorted out before the court proceeded to hear the merits of the application.
“It appears that there is a shortage of one judge,” he told reporters outside the courtroom. “So, the court has to make an arrangement for another judge to sit in the panel for arguments to be heard.
“This is disappointing. You have a Special Court but insufficient judges. As a result, the case cannot proceed. The law requires five judges. We do not have jurisdiction,” he added.
Gobind said the matter was adjourned to also enable the A-G to file an affidavit-in-reply over the application.
“We ask for the affidavit-in-reply to be filed as we have got a live issue before this court. I think the issue is not only a matter of public interest but of national interest and international concern. This must be resolved. In order to do that, the A-G asked for time to do so,” Gobind added.
Gobind said while the hearing was held in closed proceedings the decision would be delivered in open court.
Datuk Param Cumaraswamy, also acting for the Ruler, said the A-G had given an assurance that Sultan Ismail Petra Tengku Yahya Petra was free to go to Singapore for his medical treatment.
Lawyer Sunil Abraham held a watching brief for the Kelantan Regent.
The application was filed on Friday to “free” the Sultan from being held at the Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia in Kelantan so that he could get medical treatment outside the state.
The writ is supported by an affidavit by the Sultan’s third son,Tengku Temenggong of Kelantan – Tengku Muhammad Fakhry Petra.
In the writ, the Ruler, who was discharged from the hospital on Sunday, was named as an applicant.
The Kelantan police chief, Inspector-General of Police, the hospital’s director, Health Ministry director-general and Federal Government were named as respondents.
MAHKAMAH KHAS (RAJA-RAJA)
Sebelum 23-3-1993, Perlembagaan Bahagian 14, perkara 181(2) berbunyi: “Tiada apa-apa pembicaraan boleh dibawa dalam mana-mana mahkamah terhadap Raja bagi sesuatu negeri atas sifat dirinya sendiri”.
Parlimen telah meminda perlembagaan untuk memindahkan kekebalan raja-raja dan mewujudkan Mahkamah Khas untuk perbicaraan kes yang melibatkan Raja-Raja Melayu.
Keanggotaan disidangi 5 hakim: Ketua Hakim Negara, Presiden Mah Rayuan, Hakim Besar Malaya Hakim Besar Sabah dan Sarawak, dua orang hakim atau bekas hakim pilihan Majlis Raja-Raja
* membicarakan kes YDPA dan Raja tentang kes sivil dan
jenayah atas sifat peribadi mereka.
* bidang kuasa sama dengan Mahkamah Persekutuan.
* keputusan mahkamah muktamad.
• Sebarang dakwaan terhadap YDPA dan Raja-raja mesti melalui
kebenaran Peguam Negara.
• YDPA dan Raja henti menjalankan tugasnya ketika perbicaraan kes
• Jika dipenjara oleh Mahkamah Khas satu hari atau lebih, mestilah
turun daripada takhta kerajaan.
• Tidak boleh mengampun diri sendiri. Hanya boleh diampun oleh MRR
dengan syarat pendapat Peguam Negara harus diambil kira.
( Permaisuri dan anak raja dibicara di mahkamah biasa)