No one must be above the law

In ST on 25 Jun, it was reported that ‘The apex court has made it clear that neither the Govt nor judges can be sued for judicial decisions made, pointing to judicial immunity under the Govt Proceedings Act(GPA)… “In Singapore, the general rule is that the Govt may be liable for, inter alia, the tortuous acts of its public officers,” noted Justice Chao. This means that the Govt is liable like any ordinary employer. However, exceptions to this rule specified in the Act include those exercising judicial functions, he said.’

The above sounds logical and reasonable on the presumptions that the judges are honourable people performing the duties of judges free from interferences from other people or offices. This should be the case as Judge Chao added, ‘The independence of the Judiciary is one of the foundation pillars of Singapore’s constitutional framework and must not be shaken. To this end, the Govt should not be liable for the acts of the Judiciary, over which it has no control or influence.’

Here there is another assumption, that the Judiciary is fully independent of the Govt. What if there is a rogue govt and running roughshod over the judiciary and controlling the Judiciary? There is always the possibility of a rogue govt in office. If this law is to be read without exceptions, even if a rogue govt is in office, should it be valid to shield the Judiciary in such circumstances, or when a corrupt Judiciary is in cahoot with a rogue govt?

There is also another assumption that the Judiciary is made up of righteous men and women. In reality, there are always flawed characters in every profession and the Judiciary is no exception. What happens if there is a crooked judge or a compromised judge, a beholden judge, would he still be protected by this GPA, no exceptions?

I think this is a very dangerous precedent to set, to allow some people, in this case the Judiciary, to be above the law with no exceptions. As long as human beans are involved rogues will appear once a while. How can there be no exceptions?

Judges are also human beans and human beans are human beans, no exceptions. Just because one becomes a judge, one is flawless in character and above the law.

The only consideration that may warrant an exception is that the judiciary cannot be sued by the govt, but can be sued by the people. The people are the highest office in the country. All govt and govt offices, officials are there to serve the people. And if the judiciary committed errors or there is a miscarriage of justice against the people, they must be answerable and held accountable.

The point about cannot be sued by the govt is to protect the judiciary in case they have to rule against the govt. And this is a very likely case when no one can guarantee the characters of politicians and rogue govt. The judiciary must be free from the fear of the govt, independent and not beholden, to do what it is supposed to do, to deliver justice to the people. It is the people that the judiciary should serve and be accountable for and cannot be above the law.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

In reality, there are always flawed characters in every profession and the Judiciary is no exception.

Tiok. And even ruling party politicians, and which is much higher and powerful than the Judiciary, is also no exception. There will be flawed characters too.

But if the opposition is not even ready to take over if even the whole govt is flawed, then how? LPPL? LOL.

patriot said...

To uphold and seek justice is the duty of every human being with conscience.
Those who judge others MUST ensure that they provide justice impartially to all. There should be no lapse in their judgements.


ℳatilah_$ingapura said...

Ah...Judiciary Immunity. This is a thorny, extremely controversial topic which has raged on for thousands of years, dating back to the time where The King (or Ruler) was the ultimate judge in legal matters, and that he himself should be IMMUNE from the very damn laws he interprets and administers.

This is one of those "never can finish" arguments like which is "better"? Mac or PC? or iPhone or Android? Europeans or Asians? Christianity or Buddhism? Belief or Freethought?

Anyway, good luck in finding a definitive answer.... ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hi redbean
Off topic. But just in case you have exposure to the China stock market.

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Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Thanks Anon 1:59. Will take a look.

Anonymous said...

This is constitutional and administrative law. The expert is dead. His name is Karpal Singh.