Fauziyah bte Mohd Ahbidin (executrix of the estate of Mohamed Ahbideen bin Mohamed Kassim (alias Ahna Mohamed Zainal Abidin bin Kassim), deceased) v Singapore Land Authority and others
|Colin Seow AR
|18 December 2019
| SGHCR 12
| SGHCR 12
|High Court (Singapore)
|21 December 2019
|Suit No 152 of 2019 (Summons No 3427 of 2019)
|Koh Li Qun Kelvin, Niklas Wong See Keat and Thara Rubini Gopalan (TSMP Law Corporation)
|Khoo Boo Jin, Tang Shangjun, Szetoh Khai Hoe Terence and Jessie Lim (Attorney-General's Chambers)
|Civil Procedure,Striking Out
|20 September 2019
Summons No 3427 of 2019 (the “Application”) is an application taken out by the defendants seeking,
The hearing of the Application took place for a full day on 20 September 2019, at the end of which judgment was reserved. The Court now issues its judgment on the Application.Background
The plaintiff is the sole executrix of her late father Mr Mohamed Ahbideen bin Mohamed Kassim (alias Ahna Mohamed Zainal Abidin bin Kassim) (“Zainal”), who deceased in 2011. Zainal, the only child of the plaintiff’s late grandfather Mr Ahna Mohamed Kassim bin Ally Mohamed (“Kassim”), was a beneficiary and the administrator of Kassim’s estate under a grant of letter of administration dated 1 October 1962. Kassim deceased in 1935.
The first, second and third defendants are the Singapore Land Authority, Collector of Land Revenue and Attorney-General of the Republic of Singapore respectively.
The dispute between the plaintiff and the defendants concerns four plots of land situated in Siglap (the “Siglap Land”), presently a Muslim burial ground:
The Siglap Land, which the plaintiff claims to be “ancestral” land owned by Kassim since 1919 and soon thereafter established as a perpetual
All property, movable or immovable, which was, immediately before 1
stJuly 1968, vested in the Board established under the [MHE Ordinance] for purposes relating to the Muslim religion or on trust for religious or charitable purposes for the benefit of persons professing the Muslim religion shall, on 1 stJuly 1968, without any conveyance, assignment or transfer whatever, vest in the Majlis for the like title, estate or interest and in the like tenure and for the like purposes as the same was vested or held immediately before 1 stJuly 1968.
The plaintiff’s claims in the Action are basically framed as follows:
At the hearing of the Application, counsel for the plaintiff indicated that the plaintiff wished to withdraw the parts of the Action that relate to the Land Acquisition Challenge Claim. In this regard, counsel explained that:
As a result, the substantive oral arguments at the hearing revolved largely around the question of whether the Title Claim ought to be struck out under Order 18 Rule 19(1) and/or the inherent jurisdiction of the court.The defendants’ case for striking out
Insofar as the Title Claim is concerned, the main thrusts of the defendants’ case for striking out are as follows:
In support of [10(a)] above, much of the arguments focussed on the circumstances in which a perpetual
Counsel for the defendants submitted
Counsel for the defendants further raised arguments addressing Zainal’s conduct in his lifetime and his legal position
Notably, counsel also invited the Court to accept the defendants’ case that the Action is a “sham” and a “scam” perpetuated in bad faith by the plaintiff in the hope of seeking a monetary pay out from the Government.
The defendants’ submissions in respect of the alleged time bar under the doctrine of laches and acquiescence (see [10(b)] above) are as follows. The defendants contend that Zainal’s failure to raise any claims over the decades during his lifetime (be it in his personal capacity or in his capacity as administrator of Kassim’s estate) amounted to an approval or acquiescence not to pursue the claims that are now brought in the Action. The defendants further claim to be prejudiced, given that information and evidence (including Zainal’s testimony) that may be useful are now unavailable due to the delay, and that it is unconscionable for the plaintiff to seek to “contradict the positions taken by her grandfather and father since about 100 years ago, in order to bring this [Action] in 2019”.
For completeness, the defendants also raised two further (and alternative) grounds concerning time bar, namely:
No action shall be brought by any person to recover any land after the expiration of 12 years from the date on which the right of action accrued to him or, if it first accrued to some person through whom he claims, to that person.
To continue readingRequest your trial