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Saturday, December 20, 2008

> Unlawful assumption of office

The High Court here will decide on Dec 26 whether it has jurisdiction to hear an interim injunction filed by former Indian Progressive Front (IPF) vice-president V. Mathiyalagan to stop Puan Sri Jayashree Gnanapandithan from continuing to serve as the party president.

Judicial Commissioner Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof said he needed some time to decide on the matter as the preliminary objection raised by Jayashree involved a very important case of law.

Yesterday, S.Selvam, counsel for Jayashree, raised a preliminary objection that the court had no jurisdiction to hear Mathiyalagan's application and asked the court to reject the application.

At the outset, Mathiyalagan's counsel, K. Saraswathy, in her submission to convince the court that it had jurisdiction to entertain Mathiayalagan's application, said that there was no decision made by the IPF in the appointment of Jayashree as the party president.

Saraswathy said there was no meeting of the party's supreme council at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital (KLH) on April 20, 2008 because it was not attended by the office bearers and the party members as constituted under the party's constitution.

If there was no meeting, there was also no decision made by the party and the minutes of the meeting dated April 20 on the appointment of Jayashree as party president were false, she said.

She also submitted that sections 18B and 18C of the Societies Act 1966 which stated that the court had no jurisdiction to hear and entertain the decision of a political party as it was final and conclusive did not apply as in this case as there was no decision made.

At this juncture, Mohamad Ariff said that the minutes of the meeting were the product after the meeting was held and whether they were false or not would only be known after the trial of the case.

Counsel should confine her submission to the issue of the court's jurisdiction and not on the merit of the case, he said.

In his suit naming Jayashree, party secretary-general K. Velayutham and assistant secretary K. Neducheralanathan as defendants, Mathiyalagan sought an injunction to stop Jayashree from continuing to serve as the party's president.

Besides the injunction, he also sought aggravated and exemplary damages, costs and other reliefs deemed fit by the court.

He also wanted a court order to stop Jayashree from intervening in the affairs of the party and a declaration that she was not a legitimate IPF president and all actions by her as the president were null and void.

Mathiyalagan also sought a declaration that the letter appointing Jayashree as party president dated April 20, 2008 and the meeting of the party's supreme council held at Kuala Lumpur Hospital on April 20, 2008 were null and void.

He alleged that the IPF supreme council's statement on Jayashree's appointment as acting president and later as party president in place of her late husband, Tan Sri M.G. Pandithan, was fraudulent.

In her affidavit filed on Dec 11, Jayashree said there was no fraud, plot or falsification in her appointment as party president - Bernama.