Gopal Sri Ram

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"The Judiciary is so anxious to help the Executive... And when you bend the law to help the Executive, this results in ridiculous decisions."  —  Gopal Sri Ram [1]
 
Gopal Sri Ram

Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram (born 1944, age c. 69) was the Federal Court Judge from 2009 until 16 February 2010. Well-known for giving on-the-spot oral judgments and landmark judgments relating to public, contract, and industrial law, he was stuck as a Court of Appeal judge for 15 years, being bypassed for promotion until just months before he was due to retire.[2] Gopal has the distinction of being the first lawyer in private practice to be appointed straight to the Court of Appeal when it was set up in 1994, having never served as a judicial commissioner or a High Court judge.[2]


2.  Vincent Tan vs MGG Pillai: In 1995, Gopal Sri Ram, as a member of Malaysian Appeals Panel, defended the RM10 million ringgit award to Vincent Tan for 4 articles, published in the Malaysian Industry in late 1993 and early 1994. At the time, he had said that "this must be a warning signal to irresponsible journalists that they cannot say anything they like and get away with it".[3] Vincent Tan was granted RM2 million in damages, the largest award in Malaysian history.[4]


3.  Chandra Sri Ram vs KL International School: In 1996, while Gopal Sri Ram was still a Court of Appeal judge, his wife, Chandra Sri Ram, sued the International School of Kuala Lumpur for a record RM6 million, claiming that her 17-year old son, Govind Sri Ram, was unfairly dropped from the school's debate team in July. The trial began on 6 January 1997, less than 7 months after a writ was filed with the High Court.


4.  Dramatic U-turn: In 2003, Gopal Sri Ram seemed to have an inexplicable change of heart when he boldly spoke out on the pressing need to put an end to the megatrend where everyone is suing everyone else for millions of ringgit for alleged libel, referring, in particular, to the suit that started it all... the RM10 million Vincent Tan v. MGG Pillai suit.[5] On 17 September 2010, in his speech at the National Conference on Integrity in Kuala Lumpur after he retired as Federal Court Judge, Gopal Sri Ram said that the Judiciary had failed in its duty to defend minority rights.[6] According to him, this was because the Judiciary has become so "executive-minded" that the judges have become creatures of the government. Gopal Sri Ram believed that such interference by the Executive was clearly a breach of the doctrine of separation of powers, and the Executive should never have usurped the power of the Judiciary to convict and sentence. He indicated that the failure of Malaysia as a state may indeed be imminent, given the deteriorating condition of the judiciary since the 1988 crisis which saw the sacking of a number of Malaysia's top judges.  more... at Chronology


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