Saturday, May 7, 2011

Uthaya gets to challenge ROS over HRP’s registration

The Kuala Lumpur High Court has allowed lawyer P Uthayakumar to challenge the Home Ministry and the Registrar of Societies (ROS) on the status of the registration of the Human Rights Party (HRP).
Making the order in chambers today, Justice Rohana Yusof also ordered the three respondents – the ministry, ROS and ROS KL – to respond on the status of the application within 14 days.
NONEUthayakumar (left), who is the plaintiff in the case, appeared for himself while the three respondents were represented by senior federal counsel Suhaila Harun.
Once the ministry and the two ROS offices respond, Uthayakumar would then be allowed to initiate judicial review proceedings on the issue.

Justice Rohana has fixed Aug 15 to hear the matter.
It was earlier thought that the ROS had rejected the party’s registration as it had ignored queries made by Uthayaumar and HRP on three occassions after he submitted the application on Nov 25.
On April 6, Uthayakumar submitted the judicial review application to the High Court, where he named the three as respondents.
Grounds for the application 

Uthayakumar said sometime in 2000, he tried to form Parti Reformasi Insan Malaysia (Prim) while he was its secretary-general, but the application to ROS was rejected.

On June 18, 2009, Uthayakumar applied to ROS to form the HRP, but there was no reply.
On Nov 25, 2010, he despatched another letter, along with the formal application forms as required by the respondents, and the ROS acknowledged receipt. On Dec 16, he sent them a reminder about his application, but there had been no reply.
Similar follow-up letters were sent to ROS, its FT office and the minister on Feb 17 this year and again on March 14, but all were ignored.

Also, in a letter dated March 14, HRP’s solicitors Manoharan & Co had asked for the approval of HRP as a political party, based on Article 10 (1) (c ) of the federal constitution, which provides the right to form an association.

‘Selective approval’

Should the respondents fail to do so within 14 days, the letter stated, it would result in Uthayakumar making this application.
Uthayakumar said the respondents had breached the rules of natural justice, and in particular the federal constitution, in not allowing/ failing/neglecting to allow the freedom of association.
He claimed the respondents had acted mala fide (with bad intent) in not registering HRP, and that Umno and BN did not want it registered as it would allow HRP to represent the poor within the Indian community.
The former Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leader also claimed he had legitimate expectations to see the respondents allow the registration of the HRP.
He said there was “selective approval” or unfairness on the part of the respondents in approving the registration of political parties, since those that were pro-Umno/BN were allowed registered.
Uthayakumar named these pro-Umno/BN parties and NGOs registered by ROS as Malaysian Makkal Sakthi Party, Parti Kesejahteraan Insan Tanah Air (Kita) and non-governmental organisations Perkasa, Tiga Line, Pekida and Ayahanda.