M. Ravi's appeal on Elected Presidency to be heard on July 31

M Ravi  coming out from the Supreme Court Auditorium.
M Ravi coming out from the Supreme Court Auditorium.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Lawyer M. Ravi's appeal against the decision by Justice See Kee Oon to dismiss his constitutional challenge to the elected presidency will be heard on July 31.

The date was given by the Court of Appeal on Thursday (July 13), after it heard and dismissed Mr Ravi's appeal against the expedited timeline, which was an administrative matter.

The timeline had been set by Justice See when he first ruled on the case a month earlier on June 15.

Then, the judge had found that Mr Ravi had no legal standing to bring the challenge.

Justice See also found that recent changes to the elected presidency, as well as the entire scheme itself, which Mr Ravi had said were unconstitutional, had been validly passed and were legally effective.

He expedited the schedule for the entire appeal process due to the urgency of the case.

In his written grounds for judgment released on Monday (July 10), the judge referred to the expiry of the sitting President's term of office on Aug 31, and noted that the writ for the upcoming presidential election would be issued shortly.

On Thursday, Mr Ravi argued that sped-up timeline was "indecently hasty" and left him with insufficient time to prepare his appeal on what he called "fundamental questions of law".

But the apex court ruled in favour of the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC), which was represented by Deputy Attorney-General Hri Kumar Nair.

Mr Hri Kumar argued that Mr Ravi was aware that the AGC had asked for an expedited schedule for the hearing, from the very start of the case.

"He agreed. He was also aware that the Attorney-General would ask for an expedited appeal," added Mr Hri Kumar, referring to Mr Ravi.

He also pointed out that when these administrative matters were being discussed, Mr Ravi's only concern had been whether he would be made to pay the costs of the hearing immediately or later.

Several times during the hearing, the three-judge panel - comprising Judges of Appeal Andrew Phang, Judith Prakash and Steven Chong - reminded Mr Ravi that the court was deciding only on the matter of the expedited hearing.

In its oral judgment, the court said that the cost of Thursday's proceedings would not be decided upon until after the entire appeal had been concluded.

Both parties can also add to their existing cases or submit a new case if they wish.

Mr Ravi has until July 20 to do so, and the AGC has until July 27 to respond.

The appeal will also be deemed lapsed if Mr Ravi, a non-practising lawyer, does not pay a security deposit for the costs of the original hearing by July 15, as directed by Justice See.