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JUSTICE WANASUNDERA DECLINES

The Supreme Court yesterday re-fixed for argument, the fundamental rights petition filed by former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

Supreme Court three-judge-bench headed by Justice Eva Wanasundara fixed the petition for argument for January 23.

The petition was re-fixed for argument since the Supreme Court bench was not properly constituted to hear the matter.

Justice Eva Wanasundera declined to hear the case on personal grounds. In his petition, former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa sought Court’s intervention to prevent his imminent arrest over several purported investigations.

On May 13, 2015 the Supreme Court issued an interim order, staying the arrest of the former Defence Secretary 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 will only apply for four incidents including the floating armoury incident, allegations of corruption and irregularity in the MiG 27 purchase in 2006, purported share manipulation at Lanka Hospitals and the Mihin Lanka deal. His arrest cannot be made by three respondents including the IGP, CID Director and DIG of the FCID, court was told.

However, the Supreme Court observed that this interim order would not apply for any other investigative authorities who have not been named as respondents.

Rajapaksha 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 Corruptions and the Frauds and Corruption Investigation Division (FCID) allegedly set up by an order which is ultra vires. Rajapaksa had cited 45 persons including Cabinet ministers, 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.