Cricket controversy: A new bench, the 4th, to take up case tomorrowView(s):
By Ranjith Padmasiri
A fresh Court of Appeal (CA) bench will tomorrow consider the writ petition requesting for an order against the Interim Committee appointed by Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe in place of the elected administration of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).
The writ petition will be taken up tomorrow before CA Justices Sobitha Rajakaruna and D.N. Samarakoon — the fourth bench appointed to consider it following a number of justices recusing themselves from the case.
On Monday (13), it came up for consideration before a two-judge bench, headed by CA President Nissanka Bandula Karunarathna and Wickum Kaluarachchi, which had earlier issued 14-day stay orders preventing the functioning of the seven-member Interim Committee headed by former Captain Arjuna Ranatunga. It was appointed by the Sports Minister.
When the writ petition came up before Justices Karunarathna and Kaluarachchi, K. Kanag-Isvaran PC, who appeared for Sports Minister Ranasinghe, requested that the petition be considered before a different bench.
Justice Karunarathna at this point questioned Kanag-Isvaran PC whether his objection was directed at the full bench or him personally. The counsel answered that the objection was only against the President of CA.
Justice Karunarathna replied that he had given an order earlier after having considered submissions by counsel, but that he was subjected to extremely unfair allegations and criticism from various quarters afterwards. He said he would recuse himself from the bench and would appoint a different bench to consider the writ petition.
Justice Kaluarachchi, meanwhile, said this was a normal case for him but that he agreed to issue an interim order earlier as he believed the claim made by counsel for the petitioner that notice had been given to the respondents.
Then the writ petition came up before Justices D.N. Samarakoon and Neil Iddawala but Justice Iddawala too recused himself from the case. It then came before Justices Sobitha Rajakaruna and Dhammika Ganepola, where Justice Ganepola also recused himself from the bench for personal reasons.
Accordingly, four different benches were appointed to hear the writ petition within nine days since its filing.
Filing objections on behalf of Sports Minister Ranasinghe, Senior Attorney-at-Law G.G. Arulpragasam said his client completely rejected the claims contained in the writ petition filed by SLC. He also alleged that SLC President Shammi Silva’s sworn affidavits contained false information meant to mislead the court. He argued that the petitioner had committed an offence by submitting false information to Court.
Uditha Egalahewa, PC who also appeared for the Sports Minister, objected strongly to a request made by Romesh De Silva, PC appearing for SLC, for the Court to extend the stay order preventing the functioning of the Interim Committee appointed by the Sports Minister.
Meanwhile, the President, Vice President and Treasurer of SLC have jointly filed a defamation lawsuit against Sports Minister Ranasinghe in the District Court of Colombo seeking damages amounting to Rs. 2.4 billion.
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