Times Publishing Bhd and Others v S Sivadas

CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeLai Kew Chai J
Judgment Date22 July 1985
Neutral Citation[1985] SGHC 20
Citation[1985] SGHC 20
Defendant CounselDenis Murphy (Godwin & Co)
Date22 July 1985
Published date19 September 2003
Plaintiff CounselGopalan Nair (Gopalan Nair)
Docket NumberSuit No 5888 of 1984
Subject MatterStriking out,Statement of claim,Pleadings,Parliamentary privilege,Privileges and immunities,Plain and obvious case,Standing Order 98(13),Constitutional Law,Parliament (Privileges, Immunities and Powers) Act (Cap 49) ss 3(1) and 4,Whether subject of absolute privilege,Parliament,Defamation,Absolute privilege,Tort,Whether part of proceedings in Parliament,O 18 r 19(2) Rules of the Supreme Court 1970,Whether statement of claim raised arguable, difficult and important point of law,Civil Procedure,Written representations to Clerk of Parliament on invitation of Select Committee

In these proceedings, the plaintiffs are claiming against the defendant damages and an injunction to restrain him from further repeating or publishing certain rather serious libellous statements concerning them. I do not propose repeating the libellous statements in these grounds of decision because I do not think that I should unwittingly or unnecessarily cause any further hurt to any person. The matters complained of were contained in a letter of the defendant dated 7 February 1984 and addressed to the Clerk of Parliament in response to the invitation of Parliament for written representations from the public on the Companies (Amendment) Bill.

In November last year, the defendant by a summons-in-chambers applied for an order that the amended statement of claim be struck out on the ground that it disclosed no reasonable cause of action. In an application on this ground, no evidence, including affidavit evidence, is admissible. A court will only look at the pleading under question and will assume that the facts pleaded are true and undisputed: see O 18 rule 19(2) of the Rules of Supreme Court 1970 and The Hsing An [1974] 1 MLJ 45 , 48 per FA Chua J. After the application was canvassed before the learned assistant registrar, he dismissed the defendant`s application with costs. Being dissatisfied with the decision of the learned assistant registrar, the defendant brought an appeal which came up before me. At the conclusion of the adjourned hearings of the appeal in May this year, I dismissed the appeal with costs. Although there is no appeal against my decision in this interlocutory matter, I now give my reasons for doing so.

The summary procedure to strike out a pleading will only be used in cases which are plain and obvious or where the case is clear beyond doubt. Accordingly, as long as a statement of claim discloses some question fit to be tried, even if it is a question of law, the mere fact that the case is weak or may not be likely to succeed at the trial is not sufficient ground for striking out the statement of claim as disclosing `no` reasonable cause of action: see vol 37 Halsbury`s Laws of England , 4th Ed para 432 and the cases cited in note 10. It was on this basis that I viewed the submissions canvassed by counsel on both sides.

Counsel for the defendant argued that the written representations submitted to the Clerk of Parliament were part and parcel of `proceedings in Parliament` within the meaning of that expression in s 4 of the...

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  • Times Publishing Bhd and Others v Sivadas
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 4 July 1988
    ...2 All ER 233 (refd) Rivlin v Bilainkin [1953] 1 QB 485 (refd) Roy v Prior [1971] AC 470 (not folld) Times Publishing Bhd v Sivadas [1985-1986] SLR (R) 269; [1984-1985] SLR 709 (refd) Parliament (Privileges, Immunities and Powers) Act (Cap 49, 1970Rev Ed)ss 4, 5 (2), 17 (1) (consd); ss 3 (1)......

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