We refer to the statement dated April 23, 2014 by the office of the Chief Registrar of the Federal Court rejecting the extension of time for filing of a Petition of Appeal asked for by the late Karpal Singh’s firm and insisting that a Notice of Motion (Notis Usul) be filed.
This is an unreasonable and incorrect stand for the Federal Court to take.
They are fully aware that the final date for filing the petition of appeal is April 24, 2014. This means that there was no time for any motion to be filed and heard before the time limit expired on April 24. Despite this the Federal Court refused to allow the application for extension of time and asked Anwar Ibrahim’s lawyers to file a motion.
The court did not even indicate that they would be prepared to fix an urgent date to allow the motion for extension be heard before the expiry of the time limit. The court had rejected the written application for extension without consideration or sympathy for the special circumstances surrounding Karpal Singh’s sudden and tragic death.
In fact the court had full powers to allow the written application by Karpal’s firm for an extension of time. The court could easily have allowed the extension under its inherent powers as stated in Rule 137 of the Federal Court Rules 1995. Rule 137 allows the Federal Court to do whatever “necessary to prevent injustice”.
Surely this power ought to have been exercised in view of Karpal’s sudden death and the urgent deadline; and particularly so as this is a case of great public interest.
The inherent powers in Rule 137 exist precisely to cater for situations like this. It was simply impossible for Anwar’s lawyers to put in a motion and get it heard before the expiry of the time limit.
We reiterate that the rejection of the written request was unjustified and constitutes a grave injustice in the circumstances of this case.
N SURENDRAN is a vice-president and LATHEEFA KOYA is chief of the legal affairs bureau of Parti Keadilan Rakyat.