By Colombo Telegraph -
Legal challenges against the recently appointed Chief Justice continued to mount yesterday when a former customs official filed a fresh Revision Application and a Motion before the Supreme Court yesterday.
The application was previously dismissed with costs to the respondents by a two judge bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Justice S. Hettige and Justice E. Wanasundera despite submissions by the Counsel for the petitioner that the case should not be listed before one of the judges and should be re-listed before a different bench.
In his application (SCFR/536/2010) the petitioner T.R. Ratnasiri of Makola argues that as the Respondent Mohan Pieris is now appointed to the office of the Chief Justice and as the matters connected to his Revision Application is about his gross misconduct and dishonesty and of paramount public importance, the Respondent Mohan Pieris is disqualified to take any steps on his revision application.
The petitioner therefore requests that his revision application be referred to bench of five Supreme Court judges excluding Mohan Pieris, Priyasath Dep, P.A. Ratnayake K. Sripavan, E. Wansundara, and S. Hettige, as they have been ineligible from the hearing his case, either for the reasons of their own withdrawal citing ‘personal reasons’ or their alleged biased conduct to be qualified to rule on the petition.
The Petitioner seeks the reversal of the order on his rights application made by Justice Hettige and Justice Wanasundara on 01st February, on the basis that Hettige J had been reported to the CJ Bandaranayake for abuse of office, and further to the CJ Bandaranayake’s intervention Justice Hettige was compelled to reverse certain decisions he had made that were inimical to the interests of the Petitioner.
The revision application argues that Justice Hettige disregarded the objections raised against his participation at the hearing and had ordered supporting his application before him. Therefore, the order made by him, refusing the Petitioner leave to proceed, was effectively one Judge ruling and hence it was a mere nullity, as it had violated the constitutional requirement that no ruling for leave to proceed would be valid, unless minimum of two competent judges had attended the hearing.
The Petitioner further states that his original application was purely based on the violation of his fundamental right to equality by an executive act (and not by any judicial act as claimed by the AG) by the then AG Mohan Pieris, who was directly responsible for the withdrawal of the Supreme Court action filed by the Director General of Customs (DGC) against the Respondent, the Colombo Dockyard Ltd, who had defrauded 619 million rupees of public funds. And thereafter directing the DGC to initiate action to ‘recover’ the duties defrauded by the Dockyard refraining to invoke any penal sanction taken against the Dockyard Ltd. Producing the DGC’s observations on his rights petition to the Court, the Petitioner asserts that DGC had confirmed that the action filed against the Respondent Dockyard Ltd was unilaterally withdrawn by the AG, against the DGC’s clear written instructions that withdrawal of the said case was against public interest, considering the colossal loss of public funds of over 619 million rupees defrauded by the Dockyard Ltd.
The Petitioner argues that because of the AG’s deceitful act, the informant who relied on the promise made by Customs for a ‘handsome’ cash reward for a credible information given to Customs about the fraud committed by the Dockyard Ltd, from the additional revenue that would have been recovered by way of penalties and forfeitures, lost his legitimate right to a cash reward he was entitled to under the law and therefore, both the Petitioner and his informant have a valid case for denial of their right to an equal treatment before law because of abuse of office and dishonesty of the then AG Mohan Pieris.