AG intervenes in suit against Batu Caves’ chairman (3.6.15)

KUALA LUMPUR: The Attorney-General (AG) had sought to intervene as amicus curiae (friend-of-court) in a lawsuit brought by lawyer M. Manoharan who is seeking removal of Tan Sri R. Nadaraja as the Batu Caves Temple chairman over alleged abuse of power.

Head of execution and enforcement unit in the civil division of the AG’s Chambers, Muhammad Al-Saifi Hashim who was appointed as amicus curiae, appeared in the suit’s case management today to inform the court that certain issues needed consideration from the AG.

“The intervention prompted when a letter from the plaintiff dated May 26 was served to us and I am present on behalf of the AG to inform that there are several declarations in the plaintiff’s arguments that had touched on religious trust which requires consideration by the AG,” he said after the matter was brought up before High Court deputy registrar N.D Arun.

Al-Saifi said as provided under Section 9 of the Government Proceedings Act 1956, the suit cannot proceed without the AG’s consent as he is the custodian of public trust.

Meanwhile, Manoharan’s counsel P. Uthayakumar said the defendant, Nadaraja, who was represented by G. Rajasingam had objected to his client appearing in person for the proceeding.

“The preliminary objection will be heard on July 14 before High Court judge Datuk Asmabi Mohamad and the court will decide whether Manoharan could be present in chambers,” he said.

On May 15, Nadaraja who had maintained as the temple executive committee for 22 years, filed an application to strike out the plaintiff’s action on grounds that latter had no locus standi to initiate the suit and that he did not obtain the consent of the A-G to sue a charitable trust.

He also claimed that the suit had no cause of action and that it was frivolous and vexatious.

The former Kota Alam Shah assemblyman filed the suit on April 17, claiming that the chairman had failed in his duties to administer the temple as a charitable, cultural, religious and educational trust as per Supreme Court order dated Nov 28, 1930.

Manoharan had sought a declaration that the defendant had abused his powers by having been the chairman for about 30 years. The former International Security Act (ISA) detainee also claimed that Nadaraja and his family members must declare their assets through a statutory declaration.

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