By Chitra Weerarathne and A.J.A. Abeynayake
The Court of Appeal yesterday directed Public Administration Minister Vajira Abeywardena, ministry Secretary Gamini Seneviratne, Controller Immigration and Emigration and Commissioner General of Registration of Persons to furnish information/documents pertaining to the issuance of a passport and National Identity Card (NIC) to Gotabaya Rajapaksa in 2019.
The Court of Appeal issued the directive following Prof. Chandragupta Thenuwara and Gamini Viyangoda petitioning the court to issue a directive not to recognize Gotabaya Rajapaksa as a Sri Lankan national. The Court of Appeal will take up the petition tomorrow (2).The bench comprised President of the Court of Appeal Justice Yasantha Kodagoda and justice Arjuna Obeysekera.
The petitioners told court that though Gotabaya Rajapaksa had obtained a Sri Lankan passport and NIC he had not furnished the required documentation to prove he properly renounced US citizenship. Therefore, the issuance of Sri Lankan passport and NIC was illegal, they said.
The petitioners sought an interim order issued to Public Administration Minister Vajira Abeywardena not to recognize Gotabaya Rajapaksa as a Sri Lankan pending the case.
Ten respondents includ Public Administration Minister Vajira Abeywardena, ministry Secretary Gamini Seneviratne, DIG, CID Ravi Seneviratne, Acting IGP Chandana Wickremaratne, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, SLPP presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the Attorney General.
As the first and the second respondents, the Controller of Immigration and Emigration and Commissioner General of Registration of Persons, respectively, were not present in court yesterday, the Court of Appeal directed attorney-at-law Suren Fernando, counsel for petitioners to take steps to issue notice to them.
Attorney-at-law Fernando requested that the case be heard soon as it was of national importance.
The bench will comprise President of the Court of Appeal Justice Yasantha Kodagoda, Justice Arjuna Obeysekera and Justice Mahinda Samayawardena when the case is taken up tomorrow.
Counsel for Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday submitted copies of statements provided by him to the CID in respect of his citizenship, passport and the NIC to the Court of Appeal.