PETALING JAYA: Hindraf Makkal Sakthi will take its rights suit against the United Kingdom to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, France, after having exhausted its legal avenue in the UK.
The French city along the border with Germany is the next stage after the Court of Appeal in London had on Thursday dismissed Hindraf’s application for leave to appeal the High Court decision delivered on Apr 1, 2015 striking out the class action suit filed by Hindraf on behalf of Malaysian Indian descendants of indentured labourers.
“The case will be filed in Strasbourg within the next six months,” Hindraf chairman P Waythamoorthy said in the statement issued last Friday.
“We have exhausted all local avenues in the United Kingdom, and that is the pre-requisite for us to now take the case to the ECHR,” he said.
Waytha clarified in a WhatsApp message that Brexit (Britain leaving the European Union) will not affect Hindraf’s suit in Strasbourg.
“The suit will be filed under the European Convention on Human Rights. The UK remains under the Convention despite its imminent exit from the EU,” he said.
Meanwhile, on the case presented to the Court of Appeal in London, Waytha said the presiding judge, Lord Justice Henderson, saw no reason to interfere with High Court Judge Blake’s decision.
Judge Henderson added there was no proximity between the claimant (Waytha), his ancestors and the UK government.
On Apr 1, 2015, the High Court in London denied Hindraf leave to initiate a suit against the Queen and her government.
“Our case is novel and unprecedented, hence the high legal standard imposed on us, as seen in the striking out proceedings, was truly unfair,” Waytha said.
On a brighter note, Waytha agreed that Judge Henderson sympathised with the plight of Indians in Malaya (peninsula).
“The judge described the manipulation of the original Reid Commission’s constitutional proposals as ‘glaring’, and added that the ‘manipulation’ may be infringing the European Convention on Human Rights.
“Hindraf has volumes of evidence to be heard and tested and old historical documents to be presented to the court for its evaluation,” he said.
Waytha reckons the injustices suffered by the community needs to be highlighted to the world at large.
“Hindraf will not be hindered in its journey and we will continue to take up the cause of the marginalised Indian community.”
Representing Hindraf, British lawyer Stuart Steven argued that the amended Malayan Constitution did not comply with the United Nations and European Convention on human rights legislation, he said.
Hence, the claim is that there was an act of negligence on the part of Her Majesty’s Government, Steven added.