COUNTERCLAIM: Six say Peaceful Assembly Act unconstitutional
KUALA LUMPUR: BERSIH 2.0 is not vicariously liable for the actions of thousands of persons who attended the April 28 rally, its co-chairman Datuk S. Ambiga said.
She and five other Bersih 2.0 steering committee members have filed counterclaims against the government seeking a declaration that the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 is unconstitutional.
Senior Federal Counsel Azizan Md Arshad told the High Court yesterday that the government had received the counter-claims and statements of defence from Ambiga, Maria Chin Abdullah, Zaid Kamarudin, K. Arumugam, S. Arul Prakkash and Andrew Khoo.
The government had filed a suit against Ambiga and nine others for damage to public property during the April 28 Bersih 3.0 rally.
The government is seeking a declaration that the defendants were in violation of the act.
It is also seeking RM122,000 in damages for losses suffered during the rally.
In Ambiga’s defence and counterclaim, she said that the act was unconstitutional and void because it was inconsistent with, among others, her right to freedom of speech and expression, her right to assemble peacefully and her right to move freely throughout the city. She further stated that she was entitled to damages for the grave violation of her fundamental liberties.
Yesterday, during the first case management of the suit, Azizan said the plaintiff needed time to reply to the counterclaims.
Judge Prasad Sandosham Abraham set July 18 for the next case management.
In the suit filed on May 15, the government claimed the defendants had failed to carry out their duty when the rally got out of control and turned into a riot, which saw damage to public property, mostly police vehicles.
The plaintiff also contended that the rally organisers had failed to take steps to ensure the rally went on peacefully.
The other defendants named in the suit were Haris Fathillah Mohamed, Dr Wong Chin Huat, Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa and Datuk Dr Toh Kin Woon.