Updated: 28th August 2017, FactCheck Sri Lanka.
Setting up a separate court to hear and dispense with cases of fraud and corruption involving members of the previous regime is unconstitutional
News article appeared in Daily Mirror dated 16th August 2017:
Amid pressure from his colleagues, Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe is reported to have ruled out the possibility of setting up a separate court to hear and dispense with cases of fraud and corruption involving members of the previous regime.
The Cabinet discussed what was described as ‘inordinate delay’ in filing cases against them.
The minister is reported to have told the Cabinet that a separate court could not be set up because of Constitutional restrictions.
The Constitution has to be amended to provide for special courts.
However, he said that a trial-at-bar could be set up to hear these cases if the Chief Justice and the Attorney General were agreed on this matter.
Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne and Regional Development Minister Sarath Fonseka were among the ministers who pushed for speedy action against those accused of wrongdoing during the former regime.
Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka is reported to have said the government had taken much too long to initiate action on these matters and that the cases had been delayed primarily because of political interests.
President Maithripala Sirisena sought the views of newly appointed Foreign Affairs Minister Tilak Marapana. Mr. Marapana also said the Constitution did not provide for a separate court to be set up and pointed out that special arrangements could be made within the current judicial system to hear such cases. (Kelum Bandara)
Articles sourced from Press Reader.com appeared on Daily Mirror Sri Lanka dated 17th August 2017
Public post appeared on the official Facebook Page of Minister Ajth P Perera: https://www.facebook.com/ajithp.perera.7/posts/10155384460525485
105. (1) Subject to the provisions of the Constitution, the institutions for the administration of justice which protect, vindicate and enforce the rights of the People shall be –
- (a) the Supreme Court of the Republic of Sri Lanka,
- (b) the Court of Appeal of the Republic of Sri Lanka,
- (c) the High Court of the Republic of Sri Lanka and such other Courts of First Instance, tribunals or such institutions as Parliament may from time to time ordain and establish.
(2) All courts, tribunals and institutions created and established by existing written law for the administration of justice and for the adjudication and settlement of industrial and other disputes, other than the Supreme Court, shall be deemed to be courts, tribunals and institutions created and established by Parliament. Parliament may replace or abolish, or amend the powers, duties, jurisdiction and procedure of, such courts, tribunals and institutions.
(3) 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 itself, whether committed in the court itself or elsewhere, with imprisonment or fine or both as the court may deem fit. The power of the Court of Appeal 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 :
Provided that the preceding provisions of this Article shall not prejudice or affect the rights now or hereafter vested by any law in such other court, tribunal or institution to punish for contempt of itself.
(4) Parliament may by law provide for the creation and establishment of courts, tribunals or institutions for the adjudication and settlement of matters relating to the discipline of bhikkus or any dispute between bhikkus or any other dispute relating to the performance of services, in, or in relation to, temples. Such law may, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Chapter or Chapter XVI, make provision –
- (a) for the appointment, transfer, dismissal and disciplinary control of the member or members of such courts, tribunals or institutions by the President or by such other person or body of persons as may be provided for in such law;
- (b) for the exclusion of the jurisdiction of any other institution referred to in paragraph (1) of this Article in relation to such matters and disputes.
In this paragraph the expressions “bhikku” and “temple” shall have the same meanings as in the Buddhist Temporalities Ordinance, as at the commencement of the Constitution.
Constitution of Sri Lanka https://www.parliament.lk/files/pdf/constitution.pdf
No provision for special courts – BASL President
Daily News – Friday, August 25, 2017 – 01:00
Commenting on the setting up of special courts aiming at a particular group or family, the Sri Lanka Bar Association President U. R. de Silva said that there were no provisions in the law to establish special courts to hear cases against certain groups of persons or certain kinds of cases. But, certain parties with the aim of gaining political advantage, continuously highlights this issue and we are totally against such a move.
He was answering to queries raised by journalists at a press conference organized by the BASL yesterday.
He said there was no need to set up such Courts, as there were seven Courts in the Colombo High Court and seven Judges are going through cases in an efficient manner. There is no backlog of cases at the Colombo High Court. Most of the special cases have now come to the concluding stage. There was a delay as some cases were filed without submitting proper documents. Now, we have strong structures and which would ensure a speedy trial and a speedy hearing of cases in the future.
It is unfortunate that certain suspects are kept for long periods in remand without being indicted by Courts. Incapability and inefficiency of certain Police officers have resulted the delay in indictments,” he added.