Four Supreme Court Judges have declined to sit on the Bench to hear the Fundamental Rights petition filed by former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, citing personal reasons.
Supreme Court Judges Eva Wanasundara, Buwaneka Aluvihare, Priyantha Jayawardena and Murdu Fernando have so far declined to sit on the Bench regarding a Fundamental Rights petition filed by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in 2015.
Accordingly, this petition is to be heard on November 27, under a different Bench not comprising these four Supreme Court judges.
When the petition was yesterday taken up before a Supreme Court three-judge-Bench comprising Justice Priyantha Jayawardena, Justice Murdu Fernando and Vijith Malalgoda, Justice Murdu Fernando declined to sit on the bench.
In his petition, former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had sought the Court’s intervention to prevent an imminent arrest of him over several purported investigations.
On May 13, 2015 the Supreme Court issued an Interim Order staying the arrest of former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and granted leave to proceed in the Fundamental Rights petition filed by him.
However, on June 8, 2015 the Supreme Court clarified that the Interim Order staying the arrest of Rajapaksa would only apply to four incidents including the floating armoury incident, allegations of corruptions and irregularity in the purchase of MiG 27 in year 2006, Purported share manipulation at Lanka Hospitals Limited and Mihin Lanka deal and his arrest cannot be made by three respondents including the IGP, CID Director and the DIG of the FCID.
However, the Supreme Court observed that this Interim Order would not apply to any other investigative authorities who have not been named as respondents.
Through this petition, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa sought the intervention of the Supreme Court to exercise the Fundamental Rights jurisdiction to prevent an imminent arrest of him over pending or on the conclusion of several purported investigations by the Criminal Investigations Department, Commission to Investigate Bribery and Corruption and the Frauds and Corruption Investigation Division (FCID) allegedly set up by an order which is ultra vires.
In his petition, Rajapaksa had cited 45 persons including the ministers of Cabinet, police chief Pujith Jayasundara and the Attorney General as respondents.
President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva appeared for the petitioner. Additional Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda appeared for the Attorney General