Supported by the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, Tan Sri Steve Shim and the Federal Court judge Datuk Haidar Mohd Nor, Justice Dzaiddin disagreed that that the Federal Court has no jurisdiction to hear an application to set aside a judgment made by the same court and said that the law gives the court powers to hear any application or to make any order which is necessary to prevent injustice.
In the case in question, Justice Dzaiddin ruled that a judgment handed down last year by a panel chaired by his predecessor Tun Eusoff Chin was invalid as it was pronounced in open court after two of the three judges on the panel had retired.
The original judgment delivered on Dec. 22 had overturned a High Court decision dismissing a couple’s claim for the recovery of their shares and their ownership in a company called Peringkat Juta (M) Sdn. Bhd.
Justice Dzaiddin said the former panel - comprising Eusoff, Chief Judge of Malaya Justice Wan Adnan Ismail and retired Federal Court judge Datuk Dr. Zakaria Yatim - was not duly constituted as there was effectively only one judge by the time the judgement was delivered. Dr. Zakaria and Eusoff retired on Jan. 25, 2000 and Dec. 20, 2000 respectively.
Justice Dzaiddin held that the judgement on Dec. 22 was a nullity as the effective date of the judgment was the date of pronouncement in open court on Dec. 22 and not the date when it was signed by the remaining two judges of the court.
Are there any other such Federal Court decisions during the tenure of the former Chief Justice, Tun Eusoff Chin, which are afflicted with nullity on similar ground and if so, the Federal Court should call up to quash all these Federal Court judgements and order fresh appeals to be heard to prevent injustice.