Lawsuit against SBS Transit veers off course after courtroom drama, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Lawsuit against SBS Transit veers off course after courtroom drama

Voices were raised as lawyer M. Ravi, who acts for the 13 bus drivers who are suing SBS, accused High Court judge Audrey Lim of being biased and demanded that she disqualify herself from hearing the case.

The four-day hearing into a lawsuit against transport operator SBS Transit was derailed shortly after it started yesterday.

The lawsuit comes after a dispute between bus drivers and SBS over rest days and overtime pay.

During the court proceedings, which was held via videoconference, Mr Ravi also called SBS' lawyer, Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, a "clown" while they were discussing administrative matters.

Mr Ravi said that he and his client, Mr Chua Qwong Meng, would be "discharging" themselves and that there was a breach of the right to a fair trial.

When Justice Lim asked if Mr Chua was withdrawing his case, Mr Ravi replied: "He does not want to participate any more in these unlawful proceedings."

Mr Ravi added that he would be asking "Dr Mahathir" for help as 80 per cent of the drivers are Malaysian and that he would be filing a case to the International Court of Justice.

The case was adjourned to next Monday for the judge to hear Mr Ravi's application to discharge himself.

The 13 workers claim that they had been made to work without a rest day each week and that they were underpaid for overtime work.

In June, Justice Lim said the case involved important questions of law that would affect a larger class of workers in Singapore, and allowed the case to be heard in the High Court.

The questions involve Employment Act provisions relating to the scheduling of rest days and whether bus drivers fall within the definition of workers providing "essential services".

Mr Chua's suit is being heard as a test case. This means the court's decision and findings on his suit will be binding on all the plaintiffs.