Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)
CONTEMPT CASE ON BATHIUDEEN FIXED FOR TRIAL
The minister pleads not guilty Court rejects preliminary objections Trial fixed for February 13 next year
THERE WAS SUFFICIENT MATERIAL TO ISSUE A RULE AGAINST MINISTER BATHIUDEEN TO SHOW CAUSE
The Appeal Court yesterday ruled out the preliminary objections raised by Minister Rishad Bathiudeen and fixed the trial for Contempt of Court against him for February 13 next year.
The Bench comprised Justices S.Sriskandarajah (President of CA) and Deep
The Court on July 26 issued a Rule (charge) against
Mnister Bathiudeen for the alleged contempt of court in connection with the attack on the Mannar Courts and the alleged intimidation of Judge Anthonypillai Judeson.
When the charges were read out to the minister he pleaded not guilty.
Acting Appeal Court President W.L. Ranjith Silva on July 26 observed that in terms of Article 105(3) of the Constitution there was sufficient material to issue a Rule against Minister Bathiudeen to show cause why he should not be charged for contempt of court.
President’s Counsel Faisz Musthapha appearing for the minister raised three preliminary objections to the charges.
He said the preliminary objections related to the jurisdiction of this Court to issue legal process against the minister.
In the first objection, he said there was no evidence to support the charges that were served on the minister.
In the second, he said the charges were vague and hence the minister cannot be charged and the charges did not disclose the offences known to the law.
In the third, he said in relation to the petitioners and the learned counsel, the petitioners were not entitled to prosecute this case.
The Court is of the view that the police statement made by the Mannar
President’s Counsel Faisz Musthapha appearing for the minister raised three preliminary objections to the charges When the charges were read out, the minister said he could not understand English and wanted the charge interpreted in Tamil. The Appeal Court President interpreted the charges in Tamil
Magistrate and the affidavit of the Judicial Service Commission Secretary are prima facie evidence to issue summons on the respondent minister. The Court is of the view that on the perusal of charges, it demonstrates the manner in which the alleged contempt was committed. When the charges were read out, the minister told Court he could not understand English and wanted the charge to be interpreted in Tamil. The Appeal Court President interpreted the charges in Tamil. The charges against the respondent minister are:
(1) On July 16, a ‘B’ Report was filed in Case Number B 396/2012 in the Magistrate’s Court of Mannar. The Magistrate had made the order dated July 16, 2012 and on July 17, the respondent telephoned the Magistrate and demanded that he reverse the order;
(2) On July 18, the Magistrate had received a further call from the respondent, at this time from a private number;
(3) On July 18, the respondent had met the Secretary of the Judicial Services Commission and requested that the Magistrate of Mannar be transferred forthwith. When the case was fixed for trial, the counsel for the minister sought leave of the Appeal Court to support the appeal to the Supreme Court against the order of the Court.
Appeal Court allowed his application but told him that the contempt proceedings would proceed.
Senior lawyers including the Mannar Bar Association and the Galle Law Association filed a petition seeking the Appeal Court to punish the minister for contempt of court.
They filed the petition through Lilanthi de Silva under Article 105(3) of the Constitution which reads “The Supreme Court of the Republic of Sri Lanka and the Court of Appeal of the Republic of Sri Lanka shall each be a superior court of record and shall have all the powers of such court including the power to punish for contempt of it- self, whether committed in the court itself or elsewhere, with imprisonment or fine or both as the court may deem fit. The powers of the Appeal Court shall include the power to punish for contempt of any other court, tribunal or institution referred to in paragraph 1(c) of this Article, whether committed in the presence of such court or elsewhere.” The petitioners are: President’s Counsel Geoffrey Alagaratnam, Dr. Sunil F.A. Cooray, Lal Wijeyanayake, Chandrapala Kumarage, Mannar Bar Association President E.C. Feldano, Galle Law Association President Nalani Kamalika Manatunga and president’s counsel A.S.M. Perera.
President’s counsel Romesh de Silva with president’s counsel Ikram Mohamed, G.G. Arulpragasam, K.S. Ratnavale, J.C. Weliamuna, Sanjeeva Jayawardena, Saliya Peiris, Sugath Caldera, Kamran Aziz, Eraj de Silva, Gayan Matuwage, Senura Abeywardena and Milhan Mohamed instructed by Lilanthi de Silva appeared for the petitioners. Petitioners cited Minister Rishad Bathiudeen as the respondent.
They said the Bar Association Executive Committee passed a resolution on July 20 and its expressed concern about the incident in the Mannar Courts which adversely affects the Independence of the Judiciary and undermines public confidence in the administration of justice.Petitioners allege that the aforesaid visit and communication with the Secretary of JSC is an interference with the due and proper working of the Judiciary and of Court.