CJ-led bench to hear petition against Pastor Jerome Fernando

Tuesday, 11 June 2024 01:20 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Supreme Court has ordered for a Fundamental Rights (FR) petition filed against Pastor Jerome Fernando to be taken up for consideration before a judge bench chaired by the Chief Justice.

This order was issued when the relevant petition was taken up before a three-member Supreme Court judge bench consisting of Justices Murdhu Fernando, Kumudini Wickremasinghe and Janak De Silva yesterday.

Several religious leaders had filed this petition seeking an order to prosecute controversial Pastor Jerome Fernando under the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) over his derogatory statements related to Lord Buddha and other religious figures. 

Appearing for the petitioning party, President’s Counsel Sanjeewa Jayawardena informed the court that three of the religious leaders involved in filing the petition have expressed their willingness to withdraw it.

Senior Deputy Solicitor General Dileepa Peiris, who appeared on behalf of the Attorney General, informed the court that in accordance with the previous court order, all investigation reports conducted under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act regarding Pastor Jerome have been submitted to the court.

After considering the facts, the judge bench ordered that since the relevant petition had previously been considered before the Chief Justice, it is appropriate to recall the case before a bench comprising the Chief Justice.

Subsequently, the Supreme Court judge bench ordered the petition to be recalled before a bench chaired by the Chief Justice on 22 July.