Lawyers for the petitioners challenging the controversial Parliament Standing Order 78A that was used by the Rajapaksa regime to exclude Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake from exercising her functions without a fair or impartial inquiry, have filed a joint written submission calling for the dismissal of so-called ‘preliminary objections’ raised again by those opposed to relief being granted to prevent the case from being considered on its merits, the Colombo Telegraph is able to report today.
SC (FR) 665, 666 & 667/2012, the three cases filed by Athula Chandraguptha Thenuwara, Janaka Adikari and Mahinda Jayasinghe the three sets of lawyers have filed a joint written submission which will now be looked at by a ‘special bench’ handpicked by de facto Chief Justice Mohan Pieris to hear the case. The bench allowed a few intervention applications led by junior President’s Counsel Nigel Hatch to support the Attorney General in opposing the granting of relief. These intervening parties are now again raising preliminary issues that were raised by Attorney General and already overruled by granting leave to proceed in the cases. Investigations by Colombo Telegraph reveal that Hatch is being sponsored and supported by 6th respondent Pieris to be appointed to the Supreme Court bench by the Rajapaksa regime as a reward for his loyalty. After the controversial 18th Amendment, all appointments, promotions and sackings of Supreme and Appeal Court judges are done directly by President Mahinda Rajapaksa without any quality or integrity controls.
The petitioners’ counsel had earlier objected to Pieris (6th respondent in the case) picking some judges and leaving other judges out as improper and against all Principles of Natural Justice. However the 5 nominated judges had refused to send the file back to Pieris with a ruling that in view of the concerns, it would only be proper for all judges of the Supreme Court to be allowed to hear the case.
A very senior constitutional lawyer contacted by Colombo Telegraph (who requested not to name him), said it seems clear the intention now is to get the preliminary objections upheld, which means the cases would not be fixed for hearing on the main issues and the court would then not have to consider the strong issues raised by the petitioners on the merits of the case at all.
Here is the joint written submission filed by the lawyers for the petitioners asking the 5 judges to reject the preliminary objections and fix the cases for hearing fully on the merits. Click Petitioners WS – Preliminary Objection