Staying summons requiring Gota to appear in Jaffna court; Justice Wijesundera stands by her order | Daily News


 

Staying summons requiring Gota to appear in Jaffna court; Justice Wijesundera stands by her order

Court of Appeal Justice Deepali Wijesundera yesterday stood by her previous Interim Order staying summons requiring Gotabaya Rajapaksa to appear before the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court.

When an application was made to revoke her previous order, Justice Jayasundera maintained that she had issued this order with due regards to law.

Accordingly, the application filed seeking an order to vacate the Interim Order issued by the Court of Appeal which stayed summons requiring Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa to appear before the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court as a witness over the disappearance of human rights activists, Lalith and Kugan, was yesterday fixed for December 2.

On September 24, 2019, Court of Appeal Justice Deepali Wijesundera had issued an Interim Order staying summons requiring Gotabaya Rajapaksa to appear before the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court on September 27. Justice Deepali Wijesundera had made this order pursuant to a petition filed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa citing urgency and security reasons.

The Court had issued this order in connection with the Habeas Corpus inquiry into the disappearance of two human rights activists, Lalith and Kugan, who went missing in December 2011 when Gotabaya Rajapaksa was serving as the Defence Secretary.

Counsel Nuwan Bopage appearing for the petitioners in the Habeas Corpus inquiry informed that that the Interim Order issued by the Court of Appeal was bias and it had been made per incuriam (characterized by lack of due regard to the law). He argued that in accordance with section 2(1) (b) of the Supreme Court rules, an ex-parte order only can be issued for a limited period not exceeding two weeks but this order had been issued until December 3. Bopage alleged that although Gotabaya Rajapaksa declined to appear before Jaffna Magistrate’s Court citing security concerns, he has recently visited Jaffna to attend in a political rally.

While refusing the argument put forward by petitioner’s counsel, Justice Wijesundera decided to allow Gotabaya Rajapaksa to file objections regarding the application on December 2.

President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva appearing for Gotabaya Rajapksa raised objections against the petitioner’s counsel version that the previous Interim Order should be vacated. He strongly objected when Bopage attempted to read out the portion of evidence given by former Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella during the Habeas Corpus inquiry.

On last Monday (28), Court of Appeal Justice (President) Yasantha Kodagoda directed the petitioners that a fresh application to vacate interim order be made before Justice Deepali Wijesundera on October 31.

Senior State Counsel Wasantha Perera appearing for the Attorney General informed Court that he was of the opinion during the previous occasion that court should issue notices prior to issue an Interim Order but his request has not been recorded.

On September 24, the Court of Appeal had made another order directing the evidence of Gotabaya Rajapaksa to be examined in terms of summons in the Habeas Corpus inquiry before a competent court outside the Eastern and Northern Provinces. At that time, Court of Appeal Judge, Justice Achala Wengappuli had informed Court that he wishes to recuse from this petition. Gotabaya Rajapksa had stated that he received summons from the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court to give evidence in connection with the Habeas Corpus inquiry. Human Rights and political activists Lalith Kumar Weeraraj and Kugan Muruganandan went missing on December 9, 2011.

In his application, Gotabaya Rajapaksa had stated that he in the capacity as Defence Secretary facilitated logistical and strategic support to be obtained through the government to the forces during the war which eradicated the separatist outfit namely the LTTE who operated heavily in the Eastern and Northern parts of Sri Lanka.

Rajapaksa had further stated that the threats continue to loom time and time again, including the most recent occurrence wherein investigations are underway to ascertain of any treat to assassinate the petitioner and several other high-ranking members of the military and in the government.


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