Administrative & Constitutional Law Litigation

A brief overview of significant disputes Surendra was involved in is set out below. A full list of reported decisions is available on request.


  • Lead counsel in ongoing litigation by over hundred aboriginal people in Pahang challenging their forced conversion into Islam back in 1993l.
  • Co-counsel in a Federal Court constitutional reference where the court was asked to determine whether sitting Superior Court Judges can be investigated and prosecuted (Haris Fathillah Mohamed Ibrahim & Ors v Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Azam Baki & Ors [2023] 2 MLJ 296)
  • Counsel and solicitor for the Penang State Legislative Assembly and the Speaker in a challenge on the constitutionality of Article 14A of the Penang Constitution, a law to address party-hopping (Zulkifli bin Ibrahim v Dewan Undangan Negeri Pulau Pinang & Anor [2023] MLJU 440)
  • Lead counsel in a High Court case where the court declared that a person is not a Muslim as she was converted when she was a minor in contravention of certain written laws (Dahlia Dhaima bt Abdullah v Majlis Agama Islam Selangor & Anor [2022] 9 MLJ 372). This decision was set aside in the Court of Appeal (Majlis Agama Islam Selangor v Dahlia Dhaima bt Abdullah and another appeal [2023] 2 MLJ 897) and is now before the Federal Court.
  • Lead counsel for a Hindu wife and her children in a challenge against the decision of the Selangor Syariah Court declaring her late husband a Muslim (Rajeswary a/p Marimuthu & Ors v Majlis Agama Islam Selangor & Ors [2023] MLJU 108).
  • Solicitor for the former Member of Parliament, Charles Santiago, in a challenge against the decision of the Prime Minister to dissolve Parliament without the approval of Cabinet (Charles Anthony R Santiago v Dato' Sri Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob (disaman atas kapasiti sebagai Perdana Menteri pada masa yang material) & Ors [2022] MLJU 2727).
  • Counsel and solicitor for two Members of Parliament in a challenge against the declaration of a national emergency during the Covid-19 pandemic (Bersih & Adil Network Sdn Bhd & Ors v Tan Sri Dato’ Hj Mahiaddin bin Md Yasin (in his capacity as Prime Minister of Malaysia) & Anor (Khairil Nizam bin Khirudin & Ors, intervener) and another application [2022] 12 MLJ 492).
  • Counsel and solicitor for a residents’ association in its judicial review application against a local council in relation to the imposition of a condition to require non-paying members to manually operate the boom gate (Chow Hau Mun (mMembawa tindakan ini dalam kapasitinya sebagai ahli yang diberikuasa di bawah Seksyen 9(c) Akta Pertubuhan 1966 bagi dan untuk Pesatuan Penduduk Parkville Jalan PJU 3/32-3/37 Sunway Damansara, Petaling Jaya Selangor) v Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya [2022] MLJU 1324).
  • Co-counsel in a landmark Federal Court decision where the court struck down an Islamic law provision granting the Selangor Syariah High Court judicial review powers (SIS Forum (Malaysia) v Kerajaan Negeri Selangor [2022] 3 CLJ 339)
  • Co-counsel in a Court of Appeal decision on an extension of time given by the Minister under the Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Regulations 1989 (Bludream City Development Sdn Bhd v Kong Thye & Ors and other appeals [2022] 2 MLJ 241)
  • Lead counsel in two successful citizenship applications in the High Court where the court declared three children as citizens by operation of law (Loh Mun Hoe & Ors v Pendaftar Kelahiran dan Kematian & Ors [2022] MLJU 788).
  • Co-counsel in a landmark Federal Court decision where the Islamic law provision prohibiting unnatural sex in Selangor was declared unconstitutional (Iki Putra Mubarak v Kerajaan Negeri Selangor [2021] 3 CLJ 465)
  • Co-counsel for Datuk Sundra Rajoo in a groundbreaking Federal Court decision concerning diplomatic immunity and the prosecutorial powers of the Attorney-General. The court held that the Attorney-General’s decision to prosecute is amenable to judicial review (Sundra Rajoo Nadarajah v Menteri Luar Negeri & Ors [2021] 6 CLJ 199)
  • Co-counsel in a complex judicial review application involving a novel point of law on whether governmental contracts are amenable to judicial review (Dhaya Maju LTAT Sdn Bhd v Kerajaan Malaysia & Anor [2021] 1 LNS 997)
  • Co-counsel in the Federal Court decision concerning the insertion of the words “bin Abdullah” in the birth certificate of a Muslim illegitimate child (Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara & Ors v Seorang Kanak-Kanak & Ors [2020] 4 CLJ 731)
  • Counsel for condominium unit proprietor in a challenge against the decision of the Strata Management Tribunal concerning the interpretation of a “common façade” (Lokanath a/l Ramanath v Tribunal Pengurusan Strata & Anor [2020] 8 MLJ 721)
  • Lead counsel for SIS Forum (Malaysia) in a challenge against a fatwa issued by the Selangor Fatwa Committee declaring liberalism and pluralism as deviant practices (Sis Forum (Malaysia) & Ors V. Jawatankuasa Fatwa Negeri Selangor & Ors [2018] 6 CLJ 748 & Sis Forum (Malaysia) & Ors V. Jawatankuasa Fatwa Negeri Selangor & Ors [2023] 1 LNS 424)
  • Co-counsel for Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd in contempt proceedings initiated by the Attorney-General against the news portal for comments made on an article by third parties (Peguam Negara Malaysia v Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd [2021] 3 CLJ 603)
  • Lead counsel for the M Kula Segaran in a challenge against the re-delineation exercise by the Election Commission for the state of Perak (M Kula Segaran & Satu Lagi Lwn. Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya Malaysia & Yang Lain [2018] 5 CLJ 547)
  • Co-counsel for Maria Chin with Dato Ambiga Sreenevasan in a challenge concerning local hearings in a re-delineation exercise by the Election Commission (Maria Chin Abdullah & Ors V. Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya Malaysia & Ors [2018] 1 LNS 779).
  • Lead counsel for Nurul Izzah in a challenge against the re-delineation exercise by the Election Commission for Kuala Lumpur (Peguam Negara Malaysia V. Nurul Izzah Anwar & Ors [2017] 5 CLJ 595).
  • Co-counsel in a landmark Federal Court decision concerning the interpretation of legislative fields in the Federal Constitution (Gin Poh Holdings Sdn Bhd V. The Government Of The State Of Penang & Ors [2018] 4 CLJ 1).
  • Co-counsel for Indira Gandhi in a landmark Federal Court decision concerning the power of judicial review as a basic structure of the Federal Constitution (Indira Gandhi Mutho V. Pengarah Jabatan Agama Islam Perak & Ors And Other Appeals [2018] 3 CLJ 145).
  • Member of the legal team that represented the Malaysian Bar Council in a challenge against the former Attorney-General in refusing to charge the former Prime Minister for wrongdoings concerning 1MDB.
  • Co-counsel for Ezra Zaid in a challenge against his prosecution in the Shariah Court for the publication of the book entitled “Allah, Liberty and Love” authored by Irshad Manji (Zi Publications Sdn Bhd & Anor V. Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor & Ors [2018] 6 CLJ 364).
  • Lead counsel for students from University Malaya and the National University Malaysia in challenge against disciplinary proceedings initiated by the universities.
  • Lead counsel for a renowned civil society group, G25, in a challenge against a book on Islam and Moderation published by the group.
  • Co-counsel in proceedings to obtain important information on the proposed re-delineation exercise and the status of the right to information under the Federal Constitution (Haris Fatillah bin Mohd Ibrahim v Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya Malaysia [2017] 3 MLJ 543)


Other Practice Areas

Surendra Ananth lawyer