By S.S. Selvanayagam
When the fundamental rights petition filed by former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa came up in the Supreme Court yesterday, the Additional Solicitor General said that the investigation against him was continuing and that if there was a cognisable offence against him, the integral part of such an offence was a mandatory requirement for an arrest.
Additional Solicitor General Yasantha Kothagoda, appearing for the respondents, and the Attorney General also told Court that the interim order preventing the Financial Crimes Investigation Division from arresting him granted on 13 May 2015 was still in operation and asked the Court to fix a possible early date for argument of his rights application.
The bench, comprising Chief Justice Priyasath Dep and Justices Anil Gooneratne, re-fixed the matter for argument on 15 June.
The Court on 3 October 2016 had re-fixed for Monday the hearing of the rights petition filed by former Defence Secretary Rajapaksa, who lamented about his alleged imminent arrest and detention by the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID).
When the petition was, in the first instance, taken up on 13 May 2015, for support for granting leave to proceed, Justice Buwaneka Aluvihara had declined to be a member of the bench and the two-judge bench comprising Justices Eva Wanasundera and Sarath de Abrew had granted an interim order preventing the FCID and others from arresting the former Defence Secretary for alleged financial crime.
They had also granted leave to proceed with his petition for the alleged imminent infringement of his fundamental rights to equality and equal protection of the law, to freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention as well as his right to the freedom of movement.
Petitioner Rajapaksa cited Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the members of the Cabinet, Secretary to the Cabinet, Secretary to the President, IGP N.K. Ilangakoon, CID Director B.R.S.R. Nagahamulla, FCID DIG Ravi Waidyalankara and the Attorney General as respondents.
Romesh de Silva PC with Ali Sabry PC, Sugath Caldera and Sanath Wijewardane appeared for the Petitioner. K. Kanag Iswaran PC appeared for the Prime Minister and Additional Solicitor General Kothagoda appeared for the respondents.
Petitioner Rajapaksa filed the petition seeking an interim order preventing the Police from arresting him over several purported investigations and a declaration that the gazette notification on the Fraud Crimes Investigations Division was ultra vires.
He states in his petition that consequent to the presidential elections held on 17 November 2005, his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected as the President.