DNA, TNA MPs to answer Court notice

Thursday, 3 January 2013 01:02 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Dharisha Bastians

Two Opposition Members of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) that probed the impeachment motion, TNA Leader R. Sampanthan and DNA MP Vijitha Herath, will answer notice issued on them by the Court of Appeal today, regarding the writ application filed against the findings of the PSC by Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake.

UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe meanwhile has decided that the two UNP legislators on the PSC will not answer Court notice, because the PSC was a parliamentary process, UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake told a media briefing yesterday. Wickremesinghe will make a special statement on the issue when he returns to Colombo from his travels in Europe today, Attanayake said.

Leader of the House and PSC Government member Nimal Siripala De Silva said the seven Government members would not appear in Court today.

Speaker of Parliament Chamal Rajapaksa, who is the first respondent in the Chief Justice’s petition, will also not appear in Court.

Attorney-at-Law and TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran said he will appear in Court today as the lawyer for Sampanthan who is currently overseas. Constitutional Lawyer J.C. Weliamuna will appear on behalf of DNA MP Herath.

Speaking to the Daily FT, Herath said that it was his party’s view that it was not Parliament, but the people who were supreme in Sri Lanka. “It is not about whether the Judiciary is supreme or Parliament is supreme. We answer to the people of this country,” Herath said, adding that he had been prepared to answer Court notice in December as well, when the Court of Appeal referred several writ applications challenging the legality of the PSC to the Supreme Court for constitutional interpretation.

According to Herath, he will inform the Court through his legal representation that the PSC did not follow due process and explain the reasons for the Opposition walkout. Commenting on the UNP’s decision not to appear in Court, Herath noted that at least two representatives would present the Opposition’s argument before the Court and said even that would be sufficient.

Meanwhile, major demonstrations are being planned in Hulftsdorp today to protest against the Judiciary.

Some lawyers anticipate that when the Court of Appeal convenes today, it may also deliver the Supreme Court’s constitutional interpretation on the writ applications filed by Chandra Jayaratne, Jayampathy Wickremaratne PC and others against the PSC that was referred to the Apex Court by a three judge bench of the Appeals Court.