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High Court to hear constitutional challenge against holding GE now

High Court to hear constitutional challenge against holding GE now

Source: Straits Times
Article Date: 26 Jun 2020
Author: Charmaine Ng

The application is premised on the ground that the calling of the election is in breach of the right to free and fair elections under the current circumstances: M Ravi

The High Court next Monday will hear a constitutional challenge against holding a general election at this time. The case, which will be heard on the day before Nomination Day, was filed by human rights lawyer M. Ravi on Tuesday, on behalf of Daniel De Costa.

Mr Ravi said he did so hours after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on the same day announced in a nationwide TV broadcast that he was calling a general election.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Mr Ravi said he is seeking a court order to stop the Returning Officer from holding an election at this time.

The Returning Officer is a public officer appointed by the Prime Minister to oversee the election.

Mr Ravi wrote: "The application is premised on the ground that the calling of the election is in breach of the right to free and fair elections under the current circumstances."

When contacted yesterday, Mr Ravi told The Straits Times the challenge relates to how "current regulations will inhibit voting".

The Elections Department has put in place a raft of measures, including safe distancing and modified campaign rules, to ensure voters, candidates and officials are safe during the election period.

In another Facebook post yesterday, Mr Ravi said he had asked the court to hold the hearing before Nomination Day, instead of on July 2 and July 3, as scheduled earlier.

He said: "The hearing of the case should be conducted before Nomination Day on June 30, as the election will effectively take place on Nomination Day if certain candidates may have already been elected when their seats are uncontested and are walkovers."

He added he had also asked to let the hearing take place in open court as it is a "matter of public interest".

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

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