Chief Justice nominates seven-judge-bench to hear Easter Sunday FR petitions | Daily News

Chief Justice nominates seven-judge-bench to hear Easter Sunday FR petitions

The Chief Justice has nominated a fuller bench comprising seven judges of the Supreme Court to hear several Fundamental Rights petitions filed over the Easter Sunday attacks.

When the nine Fundamental Rights petitions came up before the Supreme Court, Justice Buwaneka Aluwihare announced that the Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya has decided to hear these petitions before a seven-judge-bench on July 12.

The Attorney General, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) and several other parties had filed motions seeking a fuller bench in respect of these petitions since these applications are of public importance.

Meanwhile, when the petitions came up before the Supreme Court three-judge-bench comprising Justice Buwaneka Aluwihare, Justice Sisira de Abrew and Justice L.T.B. Dehideniya, the respondents were directed to file their limited objections within a period of three weeks. The petitioners were directed to serve documents to the respondents within a period of one week.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Pujith Jayasundara and former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando who had been named as respondents in connection with these Fundamental Rights petitions were represented by private attorneys when the petitions were taken up before Supreme Court yesterday.

Nine Fundamental Rights petitions including a petition filed by a father of two deceased children who died during Easter Sunday attack, came up before Supreme Court yesterday.

In his petition, petitioner Saman Nandana Sirimanne, the father of late Medha Sathsarani Sirimanne, 21, and late Imesh Thiwanka Sirimanne, 19, who met an untimely death in the explosion that took place on the April 21, 2019 at Shrine of St. Anthony’s Church, Kochchikade filed this FR petition seeking an order to investigate and prosecute the Inspector General of Police and former Defence Secretary under the Penal Code. The petitioner stated that the late Medha Sathsarani Sirimanne, 21, was an under-graduate of the external programme of the Kelaniya University. The petitioner stated that his late son, Imesh Thivanka Sirimanne, 19, was to sit for the GCE (A/L) examination in 2019.

The petitioner stated that Sathsarani and late Imesh had gone to the Shrine of St. Anthony’s Church, Kochchikade, in order to pray for success in their upcoming exams and obtain blessings. Though they are both Buddhists, the Shrine of St. Anthony’s Church, Kochchikade was a preferred place for prayers not only for Catholics but for people of all religions.

The petitioner stated that his two children died due to the bomb blast that occurred at the St. Anthony Church, Kochchikade, leaving the petitioner to face the sudden and unexpected loss of both his children in the prime of their youth. The petitioner stated that the petitioner as well as every citizen of this country is entitled to right of equality before the law and equal protection by the law as a Fundamental Right in accordance with Article 12 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic. The petitioner seeks to challenge inter alia the persistent failure on the part of the Inspector General of Police and former Defence Ministry Secretary to investigate and take appropriate steps to safeguard public security.

The petitioner stated that at least 359 people were killed including at least 37 foreign nationals and three police officers and at least 500 were injured during series of coordinated terrorist suicide bombings at three Christian Churches and three luxury hotels.

The petitioner alleged that the respondents had received an intelligence memo warning about possible suicide bomb attacks on churches, other places of financial and economically vital places being planned by Mohammed Zaharan, the leader of an extremist National Islamist group called Thawheed Jamath.

The petition filed by BASL President Kalinga N. Indatissa PC, BASL Deputy President Shavindra Fernando PC, BASL Secretary Kaushalya Nawaratne, BASL Treasurer Nalin Chandika De Silva and BASL Assistant Secretary Vishwa De Livera Tennekoon had named Defence Ministry Secretary Gen. (retd) S.H.S. Kottegoda, former Defence Ministry Secretary Hemasiri Fernando, IGP Pujith Jayasundara and the Cabinet of Ministers as respondents.

President’s Counsel Sanjeewa Jayawardena with Faiz Musthapha PC, Saliya Peiris PC, senior counsel Chrishmal Warnasuriya, Gamini Perera, counsel Ravindranath Dabare and Ishara Gunawardena appeared for the petitioner.

Senior Counsel Viran Corea appeared for the IGP. President’s Counsel Anuja Premaratne appeared for former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando. Additional Solicitor General Farzana Jameel with State Counsel Induni Punchihewa appeared for the Attorney General.

 

 

 


 

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