Lawyer: Hotel sued for serving beef intends to strike out suit on legal point

Reuters pic.

SHAH ALAM: A hotel management facing a negligence suit by a Hindu businessman after he consumed salmon fish contaminated with beef has indicated it intends to dispose of the action on a point of law.

Lawyer Zawharul Haq Abdul Rahman, who is representing Ganesalingam Kanagaretnam, said Sessions Court judge Noor Ruzilawati Mohd Nor had given Hilton Petaling Jaya, which is under THR Hotel (Selangor) Bhd, until Oct 19 to file the action.

He said under Order 14A of the High Court Rules, the court could make a ruling without having to go through a trial.

“The defendant’s lawyer indicated to the judge it may file the Order 14A application for the court to make a ruling on a point of law,” he told FMT after a case management today.

The next case management has been scheduled for Oct 19.

The defendant, who filed the defence last month, said it was not required under law to separate beef dishes from other food.

The defendant added the Paya Serai Restaurant served international buffet, which is served at a specific section of the buffet table.

“The beef dish is commonly served at the international buffet,” it said.

The defendant said even if the beef dish is placed in the same warmer with other dishes, both were served in separate containers.

Ganesalingam, in his reply to the defence, said the hotel management had shown disrespect to him as a follower of the Hindu faith.

“Our action is based on the tort of negligence, not for breach of contract,” he added.

Ganesalingam, who filed his action in July, claimed he suffered a nervous shock as a result of the incident early last year.

He said he patronised the hotel frequently to conduct his personal and business affairs and had his meals at its Paya Serai restaurant.

The 60-year-old said in the past he had advised the hotel management to separate beef from other food to respect Hindu guests.

He said the hotel had assured him it would rectify the matter and that it was sensitive to the feelings of Hindu patrons.

Feeling assured, he said he went for a meal at the Paya Serai outlet with a friend.

Ganesalingam said on the day of the incident he inadvertently consumed salmon contaminated with beef as both dishes were placed side by side.

“The plaintiff realised this when he was going for his second helping,” he said.

Ganesalingam said he felt nauseated and rushed to the washroom where he vomited.

The court papers said he left the restaurant “severally distraught and distressed” and this was witnessed by his friend and other patrons at the place.

He sent a letter of demand on May 24 last year to the hotel but was not satisfied with the management’s reply.

Ganesalingam then decided to file a suit seeking an apology from the management, damages and other relief deemed fit by the court.

He said the suit was filed as the management had no respect for Hindus by serving food that was contaminated with beef even though he had advised them to address the matter.

Most Hindus do not consume beef as the cow is considered a sacred animal.