AG: Court of Appeal has no jurisdiction to hear petition | Daily News

AG: Court of Appeal has no jurisdiction to hear petition

The Attorney General yesterday raised preliminary objections regarding the writ petition seeking an Interim Order preventing the prison authorities from executing the sentence of death on any person.

The writ petition was yesterday taken up before a Court of Appeal five-judge sbench comprising Justice Yasantha Kodagoda (President), Deepali Wijesundera, Janak de Silva, Achala Wengappuli and Arjuna Obeysekere.

 The petition was fixed for further submissions to be taken up for today (03). Senior Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle appearing for the Attorney General raised jurisdictional objections against the petition. Pulle argued that the Court of Appeal has no jurisdiction to hear this petition since it was challenging a decision taken by the President to implement the death penalty. He contended that the content of this petition was mainly based on constitutional powers vested in the President and, thereby, the matter should be referred to the Supreme Court for interpretation.

However, Counsel Niran Anketel appearing for the petitioner informed Court that his petition was not relying on the constitution but the provisions of Criminal Procedure Code and Prison Ordinance. Anketel submitted to court that the Superintendent of Welikada Prison and the Executioner are not entitled in law to execute a person sentenced to death. he Commissioner General of Prisons on last Friday gave an undertaking to the Court of Appeal that the death penalty would not be implemented within the next seven days.

In his writ petition, the Petitioner, senior journalist Malinda Seneviratne, sought an Interim Order preventing the Commissioner General of Prisons and Welikada Prison Superintendent from executing the sentence of death on any person. The Petitioner cited the Commissioner General of Prisons, Welikada Prison Superintendent, the Executioner and the Attorney General as respondents. Petitioner Seneviratne stated that various steps have been taken towards reintroducing the implementation of the death sentence in the recent past including advertising for the recruitment of an Executioner, the procurement and preparation of rope and various other steps. The petitioner stated that on or about 26th June 2019, the President at a conference with heads of media institutions, revealed that he had signed papers for the execution of the death sentence, that four persons will be executed and the executions will be conducted soon. The Petitioner believes that the death penalty offends the Constitution and is a barbaric practice. The Petitioner further stated that an Executioner is not entitled in law to execute a person sentenced to death and that the Superintendent of Prisons is not entitled in law to cause any other person to execute a person sentenced to death. Counsel Niran Anketel with Hafeel Farisz instructed by Vidanapathirana Associates appeared for the petitioner. Senior Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle appeared for the Commissioner General of Prisons and the Attorney General.

 


 

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