The Singapore Court of Appeal’s decision in Prabagaran a/l Srivijayan v PublicProsecutor represents a substantial development in Singapore’s law on thedoctrine of severability in constitutional review. An examination of Prabagaran reveals rich theoreticalunderpinnings relating to the nature of legislative intent. The case rightly locates the crux of theseverability inquiry in secondary legislative intention, i.e. the legislature’sintention, at the time a statute was enacted, as to what should happen in theevent that part of the statute is later held to be unconstitutional. This approach is preferable to the approachof asking whether excision of unconstitutional parts of the legislation wouldleave behind something which is “substantially a different law”, an approachwhich can lead to the judicial frustration of legislative policy. The search forsecondary legislative intent is not just a matter of speculation; Prabagaran demonstrates how it may beinferred from evidence such as the structure of legislation, legislativehistory, and speeches in Parliament. Inaddition, Prabagaran highlights theimportance of applicants’ identifying precisely the object of a constitutionalchallenge and the exact reliefs sought.
Singapore, drug trafficking, severance, severability, constitutional review, death penalty, legislative intent
Constitutional Law | Legislation
Public Interest Law, Community and Social Justice
Statute Law Review
Oxford University Press (OUP): Policy E - Oxford Open Option D
ONG, Benjamin Joshua.
The doctrine of severability in constitutional review: A perspective from Singapore. (2018). Statute Law Review. 1-20. Research Collection School Of Law.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/sol_research/2535
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