Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa hit a fresh snag yesterday when the Supreme Court did not have enough judges to take up his appeal on the interim order issued by the Cout of Appeal preventing his government from continuing in office.
Eva Wanasundara could not take up the as she is not accepting new cases due to her retirement early next year. Seven judges are currently involved in the hearing of the multiple petitions filed against the dissolution of Parliament. Therefore, eight of the nine Supreme Court judges are unable to take up Rajapaksa’s appeal immediately.
Two vacant positions in the Supreme Court are yet to be filled by President Sirisena. Colombo Telegraph previously revealed that Sirisena is delaying the two appointments in a bid to manipulate the ongoing court case over the dissolution of Parliament.
Two judges – namely S. Thurairaja and Gamini Amarasekera – are yet to take oaths as Supreme Court judges despite their names being selected by the Constitutional Council. The two judges, promoted from the Court of Appeal, have unblemished track records and have not been accused of political bias thus far.
The Constitutional Council selected them from the four names presented to the council by the President. One other name that was recommended by the President was Deepali Wijesundera, the judge who convicted Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka in a politically orchestrated trial under the Rajapaksa rule. The Constitutional Council declined to endorse her appointment.
As a result of the current situation, the Supreme Court has run into a major ‘human capital issue’ and Mahinda Rajapaksa is the last victim of it. Although Rajapaksa’s lawyers have filed an appeal against the Court of Appeal interim order, the Supreme Court is yet to take it up.
Meanwhile, addressing the SLFP convention in Colombo earlier this week, Sirisena launched a thinly veiled attack on the Court of Appeal likening the decision to a head monk of a village temple dictating terms to the chief prelate of a chapter. “නිකායක මහානායක කෙනෙක් කරන්න ඕන වැඩක්, විහාරාධිපති කෙනෙක් දේශනා කරලා.. he said in Sinhala.