The Court of Appeal here today allowed an application by the Federal Territory Social Welfare Department (JKM) to adduce further evidence to be included in an appeal brought by Rumah Bonda Kuala Lumpur Welfare Organisation.
Rumah Bonda is appealing against the High Court’s decision dated Nov 15, 2021, in dismissing its application to get leave to commence a judicial review to challenge JKM’s action to seal the shelter home following allegations of abuse of a 13-year-old girl with Down syndrome, known as Bella.
In today’s proceeding conducted online, senior federal counsel Nur Idayu Amir appearing for JKM told a three-member panel that the JKM sought further evidence to be included as part of the records of appeal for Rumah Bonda’s appeal.
She said it was significant to the appeal as JKM would be submitting that Rumah Bonda’s appeal is academic.
The counsel said the evidence is a new development relating to the case following a Magistrate’s Court order on July 15 last year to remove the seal with condition that Rumah Bonda would not be operated as a care centre until and unless it has been registered under the Care Centres Act 1993.
Lawyer Asiah Abd Jalil representing Rumah Bonda, however, argued that the court should reject the application as the reliefs sought in the judicial review application did not confine to only a mandamus order to unseal the premises but also involved other declaratory orders.
The court panel comprising Justices Datuk Azizah Nawawi, Datuk Abu Bakar Jais and Datuk S. Nantha Balan, subsequently allowed JKM’s application to adduce the additional evidence.
The shelter home was subjected to closure on July 12, 2021, after receiving a notice from the JKM for not being registered under the Care Centres Act.
On Aug 13, 2021, Rumah Bonda filed for leave to commence a judicial review at the High Court to challenge the sealing action.
On Nov 15, 2021, the High Court dismissed the leave application after it allowed an objection raised by the Attorney General’s Chambers.
On April 20, 2022, Rumah Bonda received RM5,000 compound notice under Section 21A and Section 24 of the Care Centres Act. After a meeting with committee members, the shelter home agreed to pay the compound.
Rumah Bonda was subsequently allowed to reopen following the Magistrate’s order in allowing its chairman Siti Bainun Ahd Razali’s application to unseal the property located at Jalan Kukuban in Taman Setapak Kuala Lumpur. This is with a condition that Rumah Bonda pledged that the premises would not be used as a care centre.
In her affidavit, Siti Bainun sought for the premises to be unsealed to continue to carry out welfare works as well as a centre to prepare food for food bank activities.
Siti Bainun, 30, is currently on trial for two charges of neglecting and abusing Bella.
Asiah, when contacted, said Rumah Bonda’s appeal is fixed for case management on Jan 30. — BERNAMA