Questions have been raised over Justice Vijith Malalgoda‘s inclusion in the seven-member judge bench hearing the petitions filed against the dissolution of Parliament by President Maithripala Sirisena.
Vijith Malalgoda’s inclusion in the bench has come under public scrutiny on the basis that his wife, Champika Malalgoda, was promoted as the Director General of the Board of Investments, by President Sirisena, a day before he installed the Coup Government.
Arguments have been raised that Malalgoda’s inclusion in the bench would amount to a conflict of interest, as his wife directly received a high-profile appointment of Sirisena whose conduct has been challenged in the case. Sirisena also appointed his former Chief of Staff and Defence Ministry Secretary Hemasiri Fernando as the Chairman of the Board, on the same day Malalgoda received her promotion.
Before her appointment as the Director General, Champika Malalgoda worked as the Executive Director (Policy and Public Advocacy) of BOI.
Chief Justice Nalin Perera, Justices Prasanna Jayawardena, Priyantha Jayawardena, Buwaneka Aluwihare, Sisira de Abrew and Murdu Fernando are the other members of the bench.
Justice Eva Wanasundara, a Supreme Court judge who has publicly boasted of her close links with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family members, has not been included in the seven-member bench.