If you have been issued local government summonses for illegal parking, not displaying a valid parking ticket, open burning or not having a dog licence, can you just throw them away?
Yes, you may be able to get away with it, going by a recent High Court ruling in a landmark case which stated that local councils did not have the right to prosecute anyone as such a prosecution would contravene the Federal Constitution.
What is common hearsay — that tickets issued by local councils have no legal bite — has been proven in a case in the sleepy hollow of Lanchang, Pahang.Little man’s big win: Subramaniam showing the court order as his wife hugs him outside their shop in Lanchang, Pahang. The High Court ruled that the local council has no right to prosecute him for not obeying its order to move his fish and vegetable business.
Mini-market owner Subramaniam Gopal, 50, defied the orders of the Lanchang Temerloh Municipal Council to move his fish and vegetable business to the new council market and was taken to court on four charges of operating his business — the GSM Mini Market — on Jalan Besar Lanchang, without a valid licence.
Temerloh High Court Judicial Commissioner Akhtar Tahir overturned a magistrate court’s ruling and said that if anyone was going to prosecute Subramaniam, it should be the Attorney-General. Judge Akhtar then ordered that Subramaniam be given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal.
Does this mean that members of the public can throw away summonses and not fear legal reprisal?
“Considering that the High Court declared Section 120 of the LGA unconstitutional, it would appear that there is no power to prosecute,” said lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar.
Lawyer Derek Fernandez, however, said it is better not to ignore the summons because a warrant of arrest could be issued against the offender if he is not in court when his case is called.
Father of two David J said he had often heard that one need not pay local council summons, unlike traffic police summons, and had not paid for many of them.