Fonseka release: Court of Appeal to scrutinise presidential order

A three-judge bench of the Court of Appeal wants to examine the presidential order that facilitated the release of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka. The bench comprising Justices W.L. Ranjith Silva, A.W.A. Salam and Upali Abeyrathne directed the court registrar to obtain a copy of the original order made by the President.

The court made the order following a clarification sought by the former Army Chief’s lawyer, Romesh de Silva, P.C. when it took up the writ application filed by Mr. Fonseka seeking a ruling that he is eligible to return to parliament as an MP.

Mr. de Silva said the President had made an order under Article 34 of the Constitution, declaring that his client should not serve the sentence imposed on him. He sought a clarification from the Justice Ministry Secretary and the Presidential Secretary.

Mr. Fonseka cited the Parliament Secretary General Dhammika Kittulgoda, Deputy Secretary General Dhammika Dassanayake, Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya, Returning Officer J. Sylvester, Prisons Commissioner General V.R. de Silva, Army Commander Jagath Jayasuriya, Lakshman Nipunarachchi and the Attorney General as respondents. The case will be taken up for argument on July 17.

MPs’ FR case against Police attack on protest to be heard on Nov. 29

The Supreme Court granted leave to proceed in a fundamental rights petition filed by two Parliamentarians who were said to be injured when the Police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse a protest against the Government for increasing the price of fuel.

The petitioners Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena and Akila Viraj Kariyawasam cited the Inspector General of Police (IGP) N.K. Illangakoon and the Attorney General as respondents.

The petitioners stated that even though the price of petrol has decreased in the world market the Government had increased the price with effect from midnight February 11, 2012 without passing the benefit to the citizens and that was the reason a peaceful protest was organized opposite the Colombo Fort railway station on February 17. In his submission, Ronald Perera, the attorney for the petitioners said the protest was a peaceful one within the rules of the Constitution. He stated that after the leaders of the Joint Opposition had made their speeches and the Opposition Leader had left the place, the Police cordoned off both ends of the road preventing the crowd moving away. He said that a contingent of around 1000 Police personnel who were present then attacked the crowd with tear gas canisters and water cannon which resulted in the petitioners being injured.

Deputy Solicitor General Shavendra Fernando informed Court that the protest was peaceful up to a certain time and after the Opposition Leader left the crowd became unruly and tried to force their way through to march towards Temple Trees. The Police had to prevent this and when the situation was getting out of hand they had to use tear gas and water cannon to disperse the boisterous crowd.
The petitioners claimed that the assault by the Police violated their fundamental rights.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, Justices K. Sripavan and Suresh Chandra granted leave to proceed and fixed hearing for November 29.

SLLA AGM, Awards Presentation on June 22

Three institutions have been selected to receive the 2012 Sri Lanka Library Association (SLLA) Awards for their outstanding contributions, SLLA President Upali Amarasiri said.

The organisations that have been selected are the National Science Foundation, for its outstanding contribution towards Science and Technology Information, the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka, for its outstanding contribution towards improving IT Literacy in Sri Lanka, and the Sri Lanka Book Publishers Association, for its outstanding contribution towards publicising Sri Lankan publications nationally and internationally.

The awards ceremony will follow the 52nd Annual General Meeting of the SLLA on June 22.

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