FRs challenging Gnanasara Thera's pardon fixed for support | Daily News


 

FRs challenging Gnanasara Thera's pardon fixed for support

Two Fundamental Rights petitions challenging former President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to pardon Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera were refixed for support by the Supreme Court, yesterday.

The petitions had been filed by the Centre for Policy Alternative (CPA) and Sandhya Ekneligoda, wife of missing journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda. Justice Preethi Padman Surasena recused himself from hearing the petitions since he delivered a ruling regarding Ven. Gnanasara Thera while serving as a Judge of the Court of Appeal. Accordingly, the Supreme Court three-judge-bench comprising Vijith Malalgoda, Justice Murdu Fernando, and Justice Preethi Padman Surasena, fixed the two petitions to be taken up for support on October 19.

Ven. Gnanasara Thera was jailed for six years after being found guilty of Contempt of Court over his conduct during a hearing at the Homagama Magistrate’s Court regarding the case of missing journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda.

On May 23, 2019, Ven. Gnanasara Thera was released from the Welikada Prison after receiving a Pardon Letter from the Presidential Secretariat.

In their petition, the CPA and its Executive Director, P. Saravanamuttu, stated that the decision to pardon the thera was a threat to Judicial Integrity, and was undermining the authority of court.

They sought a declaration that the petitioners' fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 12(1) of the Constitution, have been violated.

On October 5, 2018, the Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeal judgment that found Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera guilty for contemptuous behaviour at the Homagama Magistrate’s Court on January 25, 2016. In August, 2018, the thera was sentenced to 19 years of Rigorous Imprisonment, to be served concurrently within 6 years, by the Court of Appeal.

Senior Counsel Viran Corea, along with Counsels Asthika Devendra, Manjula Balasuriya, Bhawani Fonseka, and Lasantha Gurusinghe, appeared on behalf of the petitioners. Additional Solicitor-General Viraj Dayaratne appeared on behalf of the Attorney-General. President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva appeared on behalf of Ven. Gnanasara Thera.

 


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