Legal News: Apex Court To Rule On Government Show Cause Letters

 

PUTRAJAYA: THE Federal Court will determine whether civil servants hauled before a disciplinary board should be provided with details pertaining to the complaint filed against them.

 The apex court will also decide if a civil  servant could  request for details if they were not included in the show-cause letter.

 This legal question will be argued  following a leave granted by the Federal Court to former Lance Corporal Mohd Faizal Guna Abdullah against a Court of Appeal decision five months ago.

 Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria, who led a five-man bench, allowed the leave application as the questions posed were of public interest and were raised for the first time.

 The issue has a bearing on all civil servants in the event they are issued with show-cause letters for alleged  misconduct.

 The Court of Appeal had in March  allowed the government’s appeal that Faizal’s dismissal from the police force for supplying drugs to a detainee at the Dungun district police headquarters was legal.
He committed the offence between Sept 18, 2002, and Oct 5, 2002.

 Faizal, 50, was issued a show-cause letter in 2003, which he replied within the stipulated period.

 The board, in a letter dated Jan 24, 2006, dismissed him from the force without giving specific details.

 Faizal then filed a judicial review at the Kuala Terengganu High Court,  seeking reinstatement and backdated salary, among others.

 In May last year, the High Court allowed the judicial review application.

 At the Federal Court yesterday, lawyer G. Subramaniam Nair, who appeared for Faizal, submitted that the charge against his client was not specific.

 He said  junior civil servants usually did not know their rights, such as requesting for details from the board when charges were vague.

 “The board has the advantage of seeking legal advice from government agencies, but govt servants  obtain remedy only after they  have been punished.”

 The lawyer said the board did not indicate in the show-cause letter that an affected civil servant could request for better and further particulars if the charges were vague.
“This amounts to a civil servant being denied of a fair hearing.”

 Senior federal counsel Suzana Atan, however, argued that the burden fell on a civil servant to ask for details if the charge was not specific.

Source: The New Straits Times

By: V. ANBALAGAN

Published: Tuesday, August 7, 2012

 

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