Lawyer: Vell Paari ‘strongly’ against dad’s common-law wife’s bid to intervene in Samy Vellu’s mental health case

Kenneth Tee
E. Meeriam Rosaline’s lawyers Ramesh Sivakumar (left) and RSN Rayer (right) speak to members of the media at the Kuala Lumpur High Court February 18, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 — Former MIC secretary-general Datuk Seri S. Vell Paari is “strongly opposing” an application by the alleged common-law wife of Tun S. Samy Vellu to be part of a lawsuit regarding his mental health status.

Hearing on the application by E. Meeriam Rosaline to intervene in the lawsuit between Vell Paari and his father was supposed to begin today at the High Court here, but the plaintiff objected.

Meeriam’s lawyer RSN Rayer said the plaintiff opposed to his client’s intervention, citing the lack of legal standing and right to take such action but added that Samy Vellu — the sole defendant in his son’s lawsuit — did not file any affidavit to oppose Meeriam’s bid to take part in the proceeding.

“Our contention is that we would be able to assist the court in coming to a determination whether or not Samy Vellu is mentally fit, mentally capable of managing his personal affairs.

“We have also exhibited affidavit to show his recent affair during the Thaipusam function in Batu Caves.

“It is now up to plaintiff to rebut the submission we make and for the court to decide,” he told reporters following their submission in chambers before High Court judge Datuk Mohd Sofian Abd Razak.

Another lawyer representing Meeriam, Ramesh Sivakumar said Vell Paari’s suit would be detrimental to her other case if she did not intervene.

“Our argument from day one is that our client is entitled to intervene in this application which if stand unopposed, is detrimental to her.

“If we leave this matter to Vell Paari without intervening, then the court would not be appraised with the relevant facts to determine whether Samy Vellu is a mentally ordered person,” Ramesh said.

He added that the court needed somebody who is impartial in the matter to bring relevant evidence that Samy Vellu is fine.

He said both parties would now return to court on a later date to continue with the application hearing due to time constraint today.

The judge fixed March 20 for Vell Paari, represented by lawyer David Matthews, to present arguments on whether or not Meeriam would be allowed to intervene in his suit against his father.

E. Meeriam Rosaline is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court February 18, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

Met by reporters outside court, Meeriam again reiterated her wish to see Samy Vellu, whom she claimed to have last seen in June last year.

“I don’t know who is he afraid of that he is not coming. Until today, I am not able to see or speak to him.

“I have tried numerous times by going to his house, office and even the place he goes for drink but I am just not able to see him. Actually I am just mentally upset,” she said, adding that Vell Paari had cut her access to Samy Vellu by changing his mobile number.

Meeriam’s intervener application was filed on December 17, and asserted that his client is recognised under the law as the common-law wife of Samy Vellu.

The court matter that Meeriam wants to be part of is a lawsuit filed by Samy Vellu’s son Vell Paari.

Last December, Vell Paari had filed the lawsuit in the High Court in Kuala Lumpur to ask the court to direct for an inquiry to be held to determine his 82-year-old father Samy Vellu’s mental health status.

Vell Paari’s application is under Section 52 of the Mental Health Act 2001, under which the court may make an order directing an inquiry to be held to determine if a person alleged to be mentally disordered is incapable of managing himself and his affairs due to such mental disorder.

The court can also under Section 52 of the Mental Health Act order for inquiries to be made on other matters such as the nature of property belonging to the person alleged to be mentally disordered, who his relatives are, and the period in which he has been mentally disordered.

Vell Paari previously told Malay Mail that he had no difficulties or differences with his father, and that Samy Vellu had authorised him towards 2017 to manage his personal and financial affairs.

Vell Paari said he had decided to file the lawsuit to determine Samy Vellu’s mental health condition, due to his father’s diagnosis in 2017 as suffering from dementia and due to a separate court case filed by Meeriam.

Vell Paari is reportedly seeking for the court to appoint him to a committee to manage his father’s affairs if Samy Vellu is determined by mental health experts to be mentally incapable of managing his own affairs, as well as to determine how many properties Samy Vellu owns.

Meeriam, 59, had filed a civil lawsuit against Samy Vellu and Vell Paari, claiming to have married the former minister in a customary wedding in 1981 and to have documentary evidence of the alleged common-law union.

In her lawsuit before the High Court in Ipoh, Meeriam sought formal recognition of her customary but childless marriage to Samy Vellu, and claims that she is entitled to RM25,000 in monthly maintenance payments.

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