Let Justice Be Done, Though The Heavens Should Fall (Fiat Justitia, Ruat Coelum)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

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The above Latin maxim is often quoted to stress the importance of having justice to be done, as “fiat justitia” means “let justice be done” and it further complimented with “ruat coelum” which means “though the heaven should fall” which is to show the importance of justice to be done disregard of what ever consequence that might await later.

The story behind the maxim is far more interesting, as Lord Denning told us in his book “The Family Story”. The story goes as someone named PISO passed a death sentence on a soldier for the offence of murdering a person named GAIUS. He ordered a CENTURION (Rome army officer) to execute the guilty found soldier. When the soldier was about to be executed, GAIUS came forward himself and he happened to be alive and well. The CENTURION reported the news to PISO.

PISO instead of discharging the innocent soldier, passed death sentence unto GAIUS and the CENTURION, while maintaining the death sentence on the soldier.

The reason of sentencing the all three to death is because the soldier had already been sentenced, the CENTURION is because he disobeyed the initial order and GAIUS for being the cause of death of two innocent men. PISO then gave excuse “Fiat Justitia, Ruat Coelum-let justice be done, though the heaven shall fall”.

It can be seen that the maxim was originally used as an excuse for a grave injustice and outrages case that had taken place, yet it is often be quoted when people want to emphasis the grave need of having justice to be done.

The above maxim has been quoted by our court in several cases, namely in Merdeka University Berhad v Government of Malaysia [1981] 2 MLJ 356, State Of Kelantan v The Government Of The Federation Of Malaya [1963] MLJ 355 and Asia Pacific Parcel Tankers v The Owners of the Ship 'Normar Splendour' [1999] 6 MLJ 652.

Datuk Seri Samy Vellu A/L Sangalimuthu

Friday, May 4, 2007

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Datuk Seri Samy Vellu is a veteran in Malaysia political arena. He is undisputed Minister. He always defends himself all out, transferring liabilities to others, even to God.

He once replied to criticism made by Datuk M Kayveas by saying "Who is him to criticize me? He is not even a minister." and indeed, Kayveas is only a deputy minister.

He once said "Mereka kata saya kafir, saya mana ada kafir.."

When Datuk Shahrir Samad, PAC Chairman made adverse comments againts Samy's ministry, he replied "Let Shahrir do it, he is a big man, he can do anything."

He once said "Keadilan can go to hell!." and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Keadilan Advisor replied "Samy Vellu himself is hell, where else to go?"

The most outstanding comment made by him is when he was asked about one of the landslide case that took place, where he replied "Ini terjadi bukan Samy Vellu punya kuasa, Tuhan punya kuasa." Not even God can escape the blaming of Datuk Seri Samy Vellu.

I recall the reign of ancient Chinese Emperors, where an emperor will be overthrown once the country is doomed with natural disaster, as it is believed to connote the wrath of "The Heaven".

Nevertheless, Datuk Seri Samy doesnt share the same fate.Despite of the land slide, water burst at the Putrajaya buildings and the latest (at the time this article is written) the crack of the wall of justice (court house of Jalan Duta) and the roof of justice falls down (Magistrate Court No 4 of Kompleks Mahkamah Jalan Duta), Datuk Seri Samy Vellu still at his seat as Work Minister.

According to Wikipedia, He is the second longest serving minister in the country after Dato' Seri Rafidah Aziz.

Maybe its time for Datuk Seri Samy Vellu to follow the footstep of the former Prime Minister. I recall the remarks made by Raja Azlan Shah (as His Majesty then was) in the case of Pengarah Tanah dan Galian, Wilayah Persekutuan v Sri Lempah Enterprise Sdn Bhd. [1979] "Every legal power must have legal limits, otherwise there is dictatorship"...

Mahkamah Syariah & Civil Court

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

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Exordium

One couple went to seek justice as to who should have the custody of their child, the husband is a Muslim and the wife is a non muslim. The question is which court they should go?

a) Civil court

b)Syariah court

the answer seems to be = none of the above.

Article 121(1A) of Federal Constitution prohibits High Courts from interfering the matters which fall under the jurisdiction of Syariah Court. Whereas Syariah Court can only try those who are Muslim.

The husband would argue that the case of custody of a Muslim child is Syariah Court matter,whereas the wife cannot initiate an action in Syariah Court as she is not a Muslim, as Syariah court only tries Muslim parties.

Solution??

In my humble opinion, the only way this problem can be solved is to give Syariah Court the same status as the 2 High Courts. It means that Syariah court should be merged with the civil court and it shall become part of the civil court. With that, should an alien who is Muslim from Mars comes to Malaysia with his Non Muslim spouse,and they want to dissolve their marriage, no jurisdictional problem would arise.

How to do this? Our Art 121 reads "they shall be 2 High Courts of co-ordinate jurisdiction, namely High Court of Malaya and High Court of Sabah & Sarawak. The problem is simply solve by changing it to "there shall be 3 High Courts of co-ordinate jurisdiction, namely High Court of Malaya, High Court of Sabah & Sarawak and Syariah High Court..."

Problem?

Religion of Islam is a state matter, which means each and every state in the Federation of Malaysia governs Islamic law in the way they like.To merge the Syariah Court jurisdiction with the Civil court would require consent of Sultans as they are the Head of Islam in their respective States. Would they consent to give up their power to the Federal Government...?

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