Government employees has no rights to be heard before any disciplinary board or a tribunal if they are convicted of any crime or detained under preventive laws which led to a dismissal.
The Federal Court Judge Raus Sharif established this legal principle in allowing government’s appeal against Mohd Azuan Anifa a former police officer who was once held under the repealed Internal Security Act (ISA).
Justice Raus Sharif, who delivered the judgment on Tuesday in Putrajaya said the Federal Constitution had taken away the right to be heard from such errant employees.
Azuan, 48, was suspended on Dec 18, 2006 after he was detained under the ISA and placed at the Kamunting Detention Centre for two years.
The disciplinary authority terminated his service on Nov 28, 2008.
He appealed to the disciplinary board against its decision on was also rejected on rules of natural justice – the right to be heard – was denied.
To his dissatisfaction, he filed a judicial review to challenge the dismissal and the grounds relied on was that the authority used the wrong provision in the Public Officers (Conduct and Discipline) Regulations 1993 to suspend and dismiss him.
The High Court and Court of Appeal, which had then ruled in favour of the police officer, also ordered his reinstatement and payment of backdated salary.
Ruling on the present case, Raus said there were errors in quoting the wrong provision in the regulations but the question was whether the oversight was sufficient to impair the decision to dismiss Mohd Azuan.
“We are of the view the contents of the suspension and dismissal letters were clear. The respondent was dismissed due to the detention order,” Raus said.
He said the error in quoting the wrong provision, regulation 33(1) instead of 33 (2) of the 1993 Regulations, did not render the dismissal void and of no effect.
He added that neither both the provision gave Azuan the right to be heard and the end result was the same.
“We allow the appeal. We set aside the decision of the High Court and Court of Appeal. In the circumstances of this case, we make no order as to costs,” Raus added.