Teo Soh Lung v Minister for Home Affairs
Teo Soh Lung v. Minister for Home Affairs is the name of two cases of the Singapore courts, a High Court decision delivered in 1989 and the 1990 judgment in the appeal from that decision to the Court of Appeal. The cases were concerned with the constitutionality of amendments made to the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore and the Internal Security Act (""ISA"") in 1989. The latter statute authorizes detention without trial on security grounds. These amendments had the effect of changing the law on judicial review of executive discretion under the ISA by re-establishing the subjective test enunciated in the 1971 High Court decision Lee Mau Seng v. Minister for Home Affairs which had been overruled in 1988 by Chng Suan Tze v. Minister for Home Affairs, and limiting the right of judicial review to ensuring compliance with procedures specified in the ISA. In other words, the amendments were intended to render the exercise of power by the President and the Minister for Home Affairs under the ISA to detain persons without trial not justiciable by the courts. Both the High Court and Court of Appeal found that these amendments were constitutional because Parliament had done nothing more than enact the rule of law relating to the law applicable to judicial review. Thus, the amendments validly operated to deprive the applicant Teo Soh Lung of the ability to apply to the courts for judicial review.Another significant feature of these cases was the ""basic features doctrine"". An doctrine developed by the Indian Supreme Court and now a part of Indian constitutional law, the High Court held that the doctrine, which curtails Parliament's ability to amend the Constitution, did not apply in Singaporeas this would amount to usurpation of Parliament's legislative function contrary to Article 58 of the Constitution. A contrary opinion is that the basic features doctrine is necessary to provide a legal safeguard for the basic structure of the Constitution.