Controversial Supreme Court judge Eva Wanasundera is set to hear an appeal by her law-college pal Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday raising concern among opposing petitioners who fear bias.
The appeal filed against a Court of Appeal interim order restraining Rajapaksa and his purported cabinet exercising the powers of their offices is to be taken up by a three-judge bench of the highest court on Friday.
The bench headed by Eva Wanasundera includes justice Buvenaka Aluvihare and Vijith Kumara Malalgoda.
The Quo Warranto was filed by 122 legislators of the United National Party and their allies and that case is to be heard from January 16. In the meantime, the court has issued the restraining order against Rajapaksa and his disputed cabinet.
Attorneys for the 122 MPs are expected to file objections to Eva Wanasundera being on the bench to hear the case given her public remarks about her close friendship with Rajapaksa.
Sri Lanka’s Deshaya newspaper on July 06, 2014, has quoted Wanasundera and set out her extra ordinary friendship with Rajapaksa.
When the appeal was mentioned in Supreme Court on Tuesday, lawyers for Rajapaksa had wanted the next hearing to be on Friday, though the other party has said they are prepared to hear it the very next day (Thursday).
In the run up to the appointment of Rajapaksa as Prime Minister, President Maithripala Sirisena had wanted to name Wanasundera to the post of Chief Justice, but due to pressure he had to withdraw her name.
President Sirisena is yet to confirm two other nominees to the Supreme Court approved by the Constitutional Council.