Have you heard of a case of class action in Indonesia before? It might be unfamiliar in the world of Indonesian law, but you will be surprised to read this.
Facebook has recently been sued for a class action case by two Indonesian non-governmental organizations registered in the South Jakarta District Court. Defendants are required to apologize, pay fines, and block services for theft of user data that they allegedly have done. That is one example of cases of a class action in Indonesia. Then, what exactly is a class action? Are there any other cases of a class action in Indonesia? Check out the following.
What is a class action?
A class action lawsuit is filed by one person or more on behalf of a group or an organization against one defendant (or a group as a defendant). The representatives must be members of the group or organization they defend and have the same facts and claims.
The first famous case of class action in Indonesia was the case of R.O. Tambunan opposing the cigarette company, PT Bentoel Remaja in 1987. In his lawsuit, R.O. Tambunan did not only represent himself as the parent of his son, but also represented all teenagers who had been poisoned by Bentoel Remaja cigarette advertisements.
The case was taken into consideration, but the panel eventually decided to turn down the lawsuit, as the plaintiff had no legal relation with the defendant.
What is the basic regulation of class action in Indonesia?
The regulation of class action in Indonesia is in the form of Supreme Court Regulation Number 1 of the year 2002 concerning Group Representative Lawsuits (hereinafter referred to as PERMA 1/2002). The term class action in PERMA 1/2002 is better known as group representative lawsuits as defined in Article 1 letter (a). The definition of a group representation lawsuit according to PERMA 1/2002 is:
“A Group Representation (class action) Lawsuit is a procedure in which one or more people are representing a group, filing a lawsuit for themselves and at the same time representing a large group of people, who share the facts or legal basis between the group representatives and the entire members of the group.”
What are the other cases of a class action in Indonesia?
There have been several more recent cases of a class action in Indonesia, among others:
- In March 2007, the panel of judges of the Central Jakarta District Court accepted a class action lawsuit for the PT Lapindo Brantas mudflow case. The lawsuit was filed by the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI). The plaintiff also stated that the defendants had carried out public deception by stating the case of the Lapindo mudflow occurred due to the earthquake. The efforts of the defendant’s legal team to mediate were rejected by the judges.
- The People’s Credit Bank (BPR) of Bungbulang branch was liquidated by the government in 2007, resulting hundreds of customers felt aggrieved because their savings disappeared by Rp4 billions. After years of waiting in uncertainty, they sued Garut Regency Government and BPR Bungbulang branch to Garut District Court.The good news is, although the lawsuit model is not common yet, the court grants the request. The panel judges sentenced the defendants to return their savings of Rp399millions and deposits of Rp3 billions.
- In 2012, the Central Java Governor then, Bibit Waluyo, issued an environmental permit for mining and the construction of a PT. Semen Gresik (now PT. Semen Indonesia) factory in Rembang. The factory and its mining are located in the karst area which will block water sources and eliminate rice fields that are the livelihoods of the local citizens.
Therefore, on October 5, 2016, a group of residents who were mostly farmers—along with the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI)—sued the construction of the plant because it threatened environmental sustainability.
Eventually, the Governor of Central Java, Ganjar Pranowo, revoked the environmental permit of the PT Semen Indonesia cement plant in Rembang. The environmental permit can be re-applied if the company meets the requested requirements.
There are many more cases of a class action in Indonesia revealed, but we do hope all of them can meet the solution.