KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court heard today that it has no jurisdiction to interfere with the order of the Returning Officer (RO) who rejected PKR vice-president Tian Chua’s nomination papers to contest the Batu Parliamentary seat in the 14th general election (GE14).
Senior federal counsel Amarjeet Singh submitted that any dissatisfaction with or challenge to an election should be brought by way of an election petition before an election judge and nowhere else.
“This court has no jurisdiction to question the decision of the RO or grant the reliefs sought in the originating summons (OS).
“The jurisdiction is conferred on an Election Judge hearing an election petition,” he said.
Amarjeet, who acted for Anwar Mohd Zain (the RO) and the Election Commission (EC) who were named as the respondents in Tian Chua’s OS, was submitting a preliminary objection raised by the respondents.
He added that election petitions are provided under Article 118 of the Federal Constitution which expressly states that it is the only way to question an election.
Meanwhile, counsel Datuk Gurdial Singh Nijar, who represented Tian Chua, submitted that the issue of an election petition raised by the EC is irrelevant.
“We are trying to establish the legal status of the applicant – whether he is qualified or not.
“For this reason, this action proceeds by way of an OS and not any other mode, including an election petition,” he said.
Judge Datuk Nordin Hassan fixed Friday, May 4 for a decision on the EC’s preliminary objection.
On April 30, Chua, whose real name is Chua Tian Chang, 55, filed an OS against the RO and EC for not allowing him to contest in the Batu Parliamentary seat.
His nomination was rejected on the basis that the Shah Alam High Court, on March 2, fined him RM2,000 for insulting the modesty of a police officer.
He was also convicted last year of insulting a policeman and fined RM3,000, in default of three months’ jail.
He appealed – and the High Court last month reduced the fine to RM2,000 as the offence did not involve bodily harm.
In the OS, the former Batu Member of Parliament is seeking a court declaration that he is an eligible candidate to contest the seat, according to Article 48(1)(e) of the Federal Constitution.