SC re-fixes argument for May 31

Published : 9:00 am  January 24, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 


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Gota’s FR petition:

By S.S. Selvanayagam   

Supreme Court yesterday (23) re-fixed the argument for May 31 on top of the list in respect of the fundamental rights petition filed by former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.


The Bench comprised Chief Justice Priyasath Dep and Justice Sisira J De Abrew.   

When the matter came up on October 24, Justice Eva Wanasundera declined to be a member of the Bench hearing this fundamental rights petition.   

On that date, the Bench comprising Justices Eva Wanasundera, K.T. Chitrasiri and Vijith K. Malalgoda had re-fixed hearing for January 23.   

Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa filed his fundamental rights petition seeking an order from the Court preventing police from arresting him over several purported investigations and a declaration that the gazette notification on the Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID) is ultra vires.   

When the petition came up on March 13 last year, the Additional Solicitor General informed that the investigation against Mr. Rajapaksa is continuing and that if there is cognizable offence (means a police officer has the authority to make an arrest without a warrant and to start an investigation with or without the permission of a court) against him, the integral part of such offence is, mandatory requirement to arrest.  He appearing for the Respondents and the Attorney General also told Court that the Interim Order preventing the Financial Crime Investigation Division from arresting him granted on 13th May 2015 is still in operation.   

When the petition was, in the first instance, taken up on 13th May 2015, for support for granting leave to proceed, Justice Buwaneka Aluvihara had declined to be a member of the Bench and a two-judge Bench comprising Justices Eva Wanasundera and Sarath de Abrew had granted Interim Order preventing the FCID and others from arresting the former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa for the alleged financial crime..   

They had also granted leave to proceed with his petition for the alleged imminent infringement of his fundamental rights to equality and equal protection of the law, to freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention as well as his right to the freedom of movement.   

Petitioner Gotabaya cited Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the members of the Cabinet, Secretary to the Cabinet, Secretary to the President, IGP N.K. Ilangakoon, CID Director B.R.S.R. Nagahamulla, DIG of the Financial Crime Investigation Division Ravi Waidyalankara and the Attorney General as Respondents.   

Romesh de Silva PC with Ali Sabry PC, Sugath Caldera and Sanath Wijewardane appeared for the Petitioner. K.Kanag Iswaran PC with Suren Fernando appearing for the Prime Minister. Additional Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda appeared for the Respondents.   

Petitioner states in his petition that the National Executive Council (NEC), its members on several newspapers and media channels continued their malicious and vicious campaign against him and the members of his family alleging that they had staged a coup on the night of the elections to hold on to the power contrary to the mandate of the people.   

The members of NEC who were instrumental in articulating the allegations continued with their efforts to make false and baseless allegations against him over the floating armoury which was found to have been docked at the Galle harbour with a large consignment of weapons and ammunitions, allegations of corruptions and irregularity in the purchase of MiG 27 in the year 2006, purported share manipulation at Lanka Hospitals Limited and the leasing of air crafts at the time of tenure in office of Chairman at Mihin Lanka, he laments.  The investigative unit FCID was admittedly established to look into complaints forwarded by the cabinet sub-committee under the patronage of the Prime Minister who was also a member of the said purported “National Executive Council”, he complains.   
In the light of the complaints being forwarded by the Sub-Committee, there was a likelihood that the FCID is being biased and coerced and could make a finding adverse to him, he bewails.