Church's challenge against minister's decision: AGC's notice of appeal struck out

The Faith Community Baptist Church building at 3 Marine Parade Central. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
The Faith Community Baptist Church building at 3 Marine Parade Central. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Faith Community Baptist Church (FCBC) has succeeded in striking out a notice of appeal filed by the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC), which is opposing the megachurch's challenge against the Manpower Minister's order that it compensate a sacked pregnant employee.

The Court of Appeal on Tuesday ruled that the right of appeal in such circumstances is not automatic and requires permission from the court.

In May, FCBC was given the green light by the High Court to proceed with a judicial review of the Manpower Minister's order. The AGC then applied for permission to appeal against the High Court's decision, but later filed one anyway before its application was heard.

The church then went to Court of Appeal, asking it to strike out the AGC's notice of appeal because permission was required. On Tuesday, the apex court agreed.

The AGC's application for permission to appeal has been scheduled to be heard next week. If permission is not granted, that means it cannot appeal and the judicial review will proceed.

The case concerns an administrative worker at the church who was fired in 2012 on grounds of adultery for having a relationship with a divorced male colleague. The pregnant woman, who was undergoing a divorce, complained to the Ministry of Manpower.

In August last year, Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan Jin decided that she was dismissed without sufficient cause and ordered the church to pay the woman's salary and maternity benefits of about $7,000. That led the church to seek a judicial review of his decision.