SC issues notice on Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake over alleged contempt of court

Friday, 13 October 2017 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By S.S. Selvanayagam

The Supreme Court yesterday issued notice on Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake returnable for 25 October pursuant to two petitions complaining of him having committed the alleged offence of Contempt of Court.

The bench comprised justices B.P. Aluvihara, Sisira J. De Abrew and Anil Gooneratne.

Petitioners Sunil Perera and Ven. Magalkande Sudaththa Thero are seeking contempt of court action against the Deputy Minister for Social Empowerment, Welfare and Kandyan Heritage Ranjan Ramanayake for his alleged statement made at a press conference held on 21 August allegedly damaging the reputation of the Judiciary and lawyers. Rasika Tissanayake appeared for the petitioners.

The petitioners allege that the statement brings disrepute to the Judiciary and the lawyers of the country.

They claim Ramanayake is liable to be punished under Article 105(3) of the Constitution.

 Article 105(3) 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 court itself, whether committed in the court itself or elsewhere, with imprisonment or fine or both as the court may deem fit.”

 The petitioners state that the statement is made at a time when the international community and organisations are trying to force the country to establish special courts or tribunals to prosecute war heroes with the participation of judges from overseas by infringing the sovereignty of the people.

They state that the statement made by the respondent ridicules and insults the members of the legal profession at large who are officers of the court and also amounts to the commission of the offence of contempt of court.