SINGAPORE: Earlier on Tuesday (29 Aug), the renowned human rights lawyer M Ravi lodged an application with the Supreme Court, seeking the disqualification of Tharman Shanmugaratnam, a presidential candidate, from the Presidential Election 2023.
Regrettably, the Court rejected M Ravi’s application to disqualify Tharman from PE 2023.
This decision was announced on Thursday (31 Aug) morning, two days after Ravi submitted his application.
The court rejected Mr Ravi’s application, labelled him as ‘vexatious litigant’
According to a statement issued by another lawyer Joseph Chen who acting on behalf Mr Ravi, the rejection appears to be based on a previous ruling that labeled M Ravi as a “vexatious litigant”.
“This is unprecedented especially in the rest of the Commonwealth Common Law Jurisdiction. It must be highlighted that M Ravi has through judicial review saved the life of Gobi Avedian who was initially tried and convicted of drug trafficking and on appeal, his conviction and death sentence was upheld.”
“We will review the decision of Justice Chua Lee Meng in relation to M Ravi and will evaluate the feasibility and possibility to launch a constitutional challenge on the validity of the Presidential Elections if an unsuited or ineligible presidential candidate is elected, ” added Joseph Chen.
Additionally, Ravi was instructed to cover the costs incurred by the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
He later mentioned in a Facebook post requesting donations that these costs amounted to S$6,000.
M Ravi files for Tharman’s disqualification in PE 2023
On Tuesday, Broadcasting via Facebook from outside the Supreme Court premises, Ravi discussed the submission he had made.
“I just filed an application in the Supreme Court Registry for a declaration that Tharman Shanmugaratnam has breached several articles of the Constitution, including Article 19, that disallow a president (sic) who has a criminal conviction to stand for election.”
He stated that Mr Tharman, a former PAP senior minister, has been previously fined for “disclosing state secrets”, a circumstance that, in Ravi’s view, should disqualify him from participating in the presidential race.
Article 45(1)(e) of the Constitution stipulates that an individual who has been convicted of a crime by a court of law in Singapore or Malaysia and has received a prison sentence of at least one year, or a fine of at least S$2,000, and has not been granted a pardon, is ineligible to compete in the General Election or hold a seat in Parliament.
Ravi proceeded to reference Article 27, which pertains to the oath of allegiance to Singapore.
Mr Tharman had been found guilty under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) in 1994 for his role in allowing sensitive governmental information to be shared with the media.
Mr Ravi said these matters should have been referred to the Constitutional Court properly by the cabinet of Constitutional Court by Ms Halimah Yacob, or the cabinet, whichever the case may be.