SINGAPORE: The High Court has reserved judgement on the Hougang by—election case.
Hougang resident Vellama Marie Muthu is seeking to have the High Court declare that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong does not have "unfettered discretion" over whether and when to call a by—election.
She had also applied for a mandatory order for the by—election to be called in Hougang within three months or a reasonable time, after the seat was vacated.
Mdm Vellama’s counsel, M Ravi, said his client was abandoning the mandatory order, as the by—election has already taken place. But they will proceed with the declaration.
This point was contested by the Attorney—General’s Chambers, who said the calling of the Hougang by—election has made Mdm Vellama’s application void.
After the hearing, the Law Society raised the question of Mr Ravi’s professional capacity, citing a letter from his doctor saying he was unfit to practise.
The Law Society said it informed Judge Philip Pillai of the contents of the letter out of "public interest", but no application was made to prevent Mr Ravi from appearing in court.
A Law Society spokesperson said: "To be clear, there was no application whatsoever by the Law Society to, in anyway, prevent Mr Ravi from appearing in court."
The Law Society also said it was looking into the matter and is unable to comment further at this point.
In 2006, Mr Ravi was suspended from practising for a year. That year, he was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
According to AGC’s Senior Counsel David Chong, both parties finished their submissions regarding the Hougang by—election case. Following that, a representative from the Law Society showed the judge, Mr Chong and Mr Ravi, a letter from Mr Ravi’s doctor in Justice Pillai’s chambers.
Mr Chong said he did not know about the doctor’s letter until after the hearing was over.
The judge gave Mr Ravi the opportunity to reargue the case on Tuesday, and asked Mr Ravi to send him and AGC a letter by the close of the business day if he wanted to do so. AGC’s Mr Chong said Mr Ravi did not write in by the close of the business day.
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