CJ declines to hear Jaliya's appeal

Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya yesterday declined to sit on the bench hearing an appeal petition filed by former Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States Jaliya Wickramasuriya challenging the Court of Appeal's decision to dismiss a Writ Petition filed by him regarding diplomatic immunity.

The Chief Justice declined to hear this appeal citing a personal reason.

Accordingly, this appeal was fixed for hearing on October 11 by three-judge-bench comprising Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justice Vijith Malalgoda and Justice Murdu Fernando.

The Writ Petition filed by Jaliya Wickramasuriya challenging the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s decision to waive his diplomatic immunity had been dismissed by Court of Appeal on March 29 last year.

Through this appeal petition, Jaliya Wickramasuriya sought an order to set aside the order dated March 29, 2018 by Court of Appeal.

While upholding the preliminary objections raised by the Attorney General against the Writ Petition,the Court of Appeal decided to dismissed the petition in limine.

The Attorney General had informed Court of Appeal that the petition cannot be maintained since Court of Appeal does not have a jurisdiction to hear the application.

The Attorney General contended that the powers relating to the diplomatic affairs are vested with the President and thereby this application should have heard before Supreme Court.

Filing a Writ Petition in the Court of Appeal, Jaliya Wickramasuriya alleged that the Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had issued a letter informing US authorities that diplomatic immunity of former Sri Lankan Ambassador to the US Jaliya Wickramasuriya had been removed.

The petitioner is seeking a writ order to quash the Ministry Secretary’s decision to issue a letter waiving his diplomatic immunity contrary to the laws, regulations and conventions.

On a previous occasion, the Colombo Fort Magistrate had issued an open warrant for the arrest of Jaliya Wickramasuriya for his failure to appear before Court.

The FCID had filed a ‘B’ report in the Fort Magistrate’s Court against Jaliya Wickramasuriya for allegedly misappropriating USD 330,000 out of USD 6.6 million allocated for purchasing a building for Sri Lankan Embassy in US.

The FCID alleged that the suspect had misappropriated the concerned amount committed during the purchase of a building to house the Sri Lankan embassy at 3025, White Haven Street, Washington. The former ambassador had remitted this money to Sri Lanka. The former Ambassador is a close relative of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

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