ATTORNEY Jagdeo Singh has challenged Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi to personally argue the State’s appeal of the ruling on the Sedition Act.
On Monday High Court judge Frank Seepersad ruled that sections 3 and 4 of the act infringe on the right of citizens to enjoy freedom of thought and expression, the right to join political parties and express political views, and the right of freedom of the press. These principles, he said, are rights which are tenets of a sovereign democratic state.
The late Satnarayan Maharaj, Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) secretary general, filed the challenge in May last year on behalf of his television and radio station, Jaagriti, and their parent company, Central Broadcasting Services Ltd. He died on November 16.
Maharaj filed the lawsuit after police searched the radio and TV station and took recordings of the Maha Sabha Strikes Back television programme from April 15. The search tok place days after a video clip of Maharaj making disparaging comments about Tobagonians went viral on social media.
Singh, one of the attorneys for Central Broadcasting Services, responded to Al-Rawi’s announcement that the State would appeal the decision
Singh spoke at a media conference held on Friday at Lakshmi Girls’ Hindu College, St Augustine.
“You are the titular head of the bar,” he said, addressing Al-Rawi. “You are entitled to the rank of senior counsel.
“Here’s what we would like to see – since you are so full of belief of the appraisal of this act and your belief in the necessity of this act, don’t seek refuge behind the silk gown of a senior counsel. Put on your robes, Mr Attorney General. Come to the Court of Appeal, sit in the front bench and argue this appeal yourself.”
He advised the AG to don his robes in the great tradition of the bar and all previous attorneys general, including Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, who was also at the press conference.
Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj said Al-Rawi’s statement that Seepersad’s ruling was “extremely dangerous” was “misconceived” and there was no basis for him to say so.
“With the greatest respect to him, the statements which he has made are very dangerous, and I would ask him to withdraw them. Because it is very dangerous to accuse a judge of giving a dangerous statement.”
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