“Fatally flawed“. Apparently that’s what the Government’s lawyers think of V. Muthu’s application for the Prime Minister to call an election within a reasonable time. As such, they applied for the Court to strike out Ms Muthu’s application before it gets to open court.
The lawyers arguing the Govt’s case may be good lawyers, but they have piss-poor political sense.
Applying to “strike out” the other party’s application before it goes to Court happens all the time in criminal and civil cases. But this is not a criminal case or a defamation suit. This is a political case. It is a test of Constitutional Law, one of the few we have had since Independence.
What kind of signal does it send politically when the Govt does not want to defend its stand in a Constitutional challenge in an open court?
If the Govt is so sure of its Constitutional position vis a vis the Prime Minister’s absolute and unfettered discretion to decide when a by-election should be held, why not use the opportunity to affirm this in open court, and let our impartial judges confirm this position in law?
Trying to strike out an application could easily backfire on the Govt. Already people believe that the PM dares not set a date for a by-election because it could prove embarrassing for his party. There are also highly respected lawyers and academics who believe that our Constitution does not accord the PM such absolute discretion.
That’s why it is important for the PM to show in open court that his arguments have legal merit and will be carried by an impartial judge. Because even if he is successful in striking out Ms Muthu’s application– presumably by arguing that the application is without merit and thus “fatally flawed”– he will still not win in the court of public opinion, because he did not meet a Constitutional challenge fully and openly.
The first principle in politics is, one must not only trounce one’s opponents, but one must be seen to trounce one’s opponents fairly and openly.
Therefore, the legal strategy employed by the PM– trying to deny his opponents an open hearing– is apparently “politically flawed”.