SC issues Interim Order suspending Duminda’s Presidential Pardon | Daily News

SC issues Interim Order suspending Duminda’s Presidential Pardon

The Supreme Court yesterday issued an Interim Order suspending the Presidential Pardon granted to former MP Duminda Silva, who was sentenced to death in connection with the murder of four persons including former Parliamentarian Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra.

The CID was ordered to take Duminda Silva back into custody and an Interim Order restraining him from travelling abroad and also issued   an interim order suspending his passport by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court directed the Director of the CID to implement the order and directed the Attorney General to provide the necessary instructions and assistance in this manner.

The order was issued by the Supreme Court allowing three Fundamental Rights petitions filed challenging the Presidential Pardon granted to Duminda Silva, to be granted leave to proceed.

The hearing of the petition is scheduled to commence on September 1.

The Orders were issued by a three-judge Bench comprising Justices Preethi Padman Surasena, Yasantha Kodagoda and Achala Wengappuli.

The three petitions were filed by slain Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra’s wife Sumana Premachandra, his daughter, former Member of Parliament Hirunika Premachandra and the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, former Commissioner, Attorney-at-Law Ghazali Hussain.

President’s Counsel M.A. Sumanthiran, appearing for the petitioners, said that the process of pardoning the accused was an abuse of power. He said it was problematic to pardon only the accused Duminda Silva without pardoning the other convicts who were convicted and sentenced to death in connection with the murder.

The Attorney General also rejected a request for information in this regard, the President’s Counsel said. He requested that the petitions be allowed to be granted leave to proceed as the whole process violates fundamental rights. Attorney-at-Law Eraj de Silva, appearing for the petitioner Sumana Premachandra, stated that the pardon was granted without a request to seek pardon for the accused Duminda Silva and after being pardoned he was appointed as the Chairman of the National Housing Development Authority. President’s Counsel Geoffrey Alagaratnam, appearing for petitioner Ghazali Hussain, said that the process of granting Presidential Pardon consisted of several steps.

He said that the advice of the Attorney General and the recommendations of the Minister should be obtained for that and the process should be transparent. None of that happened during the pardon, he said.

President’s Counsel K.Kanagiswaran appearing for one of the respondents to the petitions, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka said that he agrees with the submissions made by the petitioners’ lawyers.

Additional Solicitor General Nerin Pulle, appearing on behalf of the Attorney General, said that the pardon was granted to Duminda Silva in accordance with the special powers conferred by Article 34 of the Constitution.

He said that due process has been followed he could provide information on the process itself. The petitions were filed seeking a declaration that the Presidential Pardon process for Duminda Silva is illegal.

The Attorney General has been named as the respondent in this petition.

The Attorney General filed a case in the Colombo High Court on September 8, 2016 against five persons, including former Member of Parliament Duminda Silva, on charges of shooting to death of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra.

 


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