Kuala Lumpur, Dec 27: Five Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders detained under the Internal Security Act have submitted a formal application for them to be present at a habeas corpus petition hearing scheduled for next month.
Lawyer Karpal Singh confirmed that he had submitted a formal application to the Attorney General on Wednesday for the applicants to be present. Earlier in the morning, when he made an oral application at the High Court, he told judicial commissioner Zainal Azman Ab Aziz that he would be writing to the A-G in the course of the day. Karpal represented four of the detainees -- lawyers M. Manoharan, 46, V. Ganabatirau, 34 and P. Uthayakumar, 46, along with Hindraf co-ordinator K. Vasantha Kumar, 34.
The other ISA detainee, R. Kengadharan, 40, was represented by Gobind Singh Deo. Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Datuk Kamaludin Md said the respondents needed time to prepare their case as they had received the habeas corpus applications only last week and on Monday evening. They also had to prepare between 40 and 45 affidavits.
"The oral application made by Karpal caught us off-guard as we were never informed about this. We need to seek further instructions from the Attorney General," the DPP added.
Karpal told the court that he wanted the five applicants to be present in court so that they could give proper instructions to their counsel in response to the more than 40 affidavits to be filed by the respondents.
He said Rule 93(1) of the Internal Security (Detained Persons) Rules 1960 stated that the court had jurisdiction to allow a detainee to be present in court to help argue his case.
The five Hindraf leaders claim that their detention was illegal as they were detained without thorough investigation as required under section 73 of the act, The New Straits Times Online reported.