29 June 2017
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M. Ravi's legal challenge against EP dismissed

Straits Times
16 Jun 2017
Charissa Yong

High Court judge finds human rights lawyer has no legal standing to bring challenge

A constitutional challenge to the elected presidency mounted by human rights lawyer M. Ravi was dismissed by a High Court judge yesterday.

Justice See Kee Oon found that Mr Ravi had no legal standing to bring the challenge.

The judge also found that recent changes to the elected presidency, as well as the entire scheme itself, which Mr Ravi had said were unconstitutional, had been validly passed and were legally effective.

Therefore, they did not contravene the Constitution.

On Facebook, Mr Ravi wrote that he was ordered to pay legal costs of $6,000, as well as reimburse the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) about $2,000 for their cost of filing court documents.

Deputy Attorney-General Hri Kumar Nair represented the AGC in the case, which was heard behind closed doors.

Mr Ravi, a non-practising lawyer who brought the case as a private citizen, argued that the entire elected presidency scheme set up in 1991 was unconstitutional.

He argued that the criteria which people must meet to run for president deprive citizens of their right to stand for public office.

He also contended that the changes to the elected presidency to ensure minority representation, which Parliament approved last November, discriminate on the grounds of ethnicity.

But Justice See found that Mr Ravi did not have the legal standing to bring the challenge as he did not meet at least one of the three criteria for a private citizen to mount a challenge relating to public law.

The three criteria are: He must have personal interest in the matter, he must prove there are special damages to him and there must be serious illegality going on.

Mr Ravi has a week - until June 22 - to file an appeal.

He had previously said on Facebook that he would appeal if he lost.

Earlier in the day, the court also dismissed three applications filed by Mr Ravi.

The first application was to disqualify Mr Nair, a retired People's Action Party (PAP) MP who has since left the party, from arguing the case. Mr Ravi contended that Mr Nair was partisan, and had a conflict of interest between representing the people and representing the PAP-led Government.

The second was to have the case heard in open court.

The third was to adjourn the hearing to a later date, pending another legal challenge related to the Constitution that he filed, Mr Ravi wrote on Facebook.


On Facebook, Mr Ravi wrote that he was ordered to pay legal costs of $6,000, as well as reimburse the Attorney-General's Chambers about $2,000 for their cost of filing court documents.

Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.