Counsels object to removing President’s name as respondent

The Supreme Court yesterday allowed parties including former President Maithripala Sirisena to make submissions over the preliminary objection against the continuation of the name of current President Ranil Wickremesinghe,

 who was the Prime Minister at the time, as a respondent in the Fundamental Rights petitions filed against the failure to prevent the terrorist attack that occurred on Easter Sunday despite receiving intelligence information.

Accordingly, the Seven-Judge Bench ordered the former president’s counsel to present his submission today (27), and ordered the other counsels who appeared for the other petitioners and respondents to present their submission on August 2.

The petitions were taken up before a Seven-Judge Bench comprising Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justices Buwaneka Aluvihare, L.T. B. Dehideniya, Murdu Fernando, S.Thurairajah, A.H.M.D. Nawaz and Shiran Gunaratne.

Attorney Suren Fernando appearing for former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe informed Court that his client is currently acting as the President.

He mentioned that Article 35 of the Constitution guarantees immunity from prosecution to the President and it is a very clear legal matter.

Accordingly, there is no need to maintain the name of the President in the petitions, he said.But the counsels of several petitioners and the respondent parties of the petitions informed that they would object to it.

President’s Counsel Faiszer Musthapha appearing for former President Maithripala Sirisena sought that he be given early opportunity to make submission as his client intends to go abroad.

Accordingly, the bench ordered that the submission should be made today (27).

The petitions were filed by Nandana Sirimanna, a father who lost his two children in the bombing, businessman Janath Vidanage, three Catholic priests including Sarath Iddamalgoda and Moditha Ekanayake, a lawyer who was a victim in the Shangri-La bombing and others.

Former IGP Pujith Jayasundara, former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando, former President Maithripala Sirisena, former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the then Cabinet and the Attorney General have been named as the respondents in the petitions.The petitions allege that the respondents did not act to prevent the Easter attack despite intelligence that a terrorist attack was being carried out by a group of Muslim extremists.

The petitions therefore seek an order to take legal action against them for their negligence.Justices Priyantha Jayawardena and Gamini Amarasekera had earlier stated that they would not hear the petition due to personal reasons.

Accordingly, the aforesaid Seven Member Bench was appointed by Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya.

by dailynews sri lanka

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