FCBC's bid for judicial review: AG gets permission to appeal

SINGAPORE - The application by Faith Community Baptist Church for a judicial review of the Manpower's Minister order that it compensate a pregnant employee will be heard earliest next year - if at all.

This, after the Attorney-General, which opposes FCBC's move, was granted permission on Monday to appeal against an earlier decision allowing the church to start judicial review proceedings against Mr Tan Chuan-Jin.

High Court judge Vinodh Coomaraswamy's decision means that the AG will be able to urge the Court of Appeal to overturn his decision of allowing FCBC to seek judicial review.

If the AG wins the appeal, FCBC's bid to challenge Mr Tan's order will be halted in its tracks.

The case concerns an administrative worker at the church who was fired in 2012 on grounds of adultery. The woman, who was pregnant at the time, complained to the Manpower Ministry about being sacked without notice or compensation.

In July last year, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, then the Acting Manpower Minister, decided she had been dismissed without sufficient cause and ordered the church to pay her salary and maternity benefits of about $7,000.

FCBC then applied to the High Court for permission to start proceedings for a judicial review challenging Mr Tan's decision. This was granted in May this year.

The AG then sought to appeal against his decision, but as a matter of procedure, it first has to seek permission from the court, which was granted on Monday.

The AG now has one month to file its appeal, which is likely to be heard in the second quarter of next year.

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