Supreme Court accepts Court Martial as a court

Wednesday, 26 January 2011 00:34 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Supreme Court yesterday ruled that the Court Martial is a recognised court in Sri Lanka according to the country’s Constitution.

The Supreme Court delivered the ruling to the Court of Appeal in response to a case filed by the former Army Commander and Democratic National Alliance Leader Sarath Fonseka against the move to remove him from his parliamentary seat following a verdict delivered by a Court Martial.

The petitioner challenged that he could not be declared as vacated the membership of parliament due to a jail sentence declared by a Court Martial since the latter was not a recognised judiciary.

In September last year, a court martial found Fonseka guilty of four charges related to alleged irregularities in military procurements during his tenure as Army Chief and sentenced him to a 30-month rigorous prison term.

The DNA leader lost his parliamentary seat due to the prison sentence.

The Appeal Court had requested the Supreme Court for an interpretation of a Court Martial with regard to Fonseka’s appeal.

The tri-member Court of Appeal comprising judges Ranjith Silva, A.W. Salam and Upali Anerathna announced the verdict.

A five-member Supreme Court bench of judges led by Chief Justice Asoka Silva delivered the Supreme Court ruling regarding the Court Martial. Supreme Court Judges Dr. Shiranie Bandaranayake, Nimal Gamini Amaratunga, Saleem Marshook and K. Sripavan were the other members of the bench.

Chief Justice Asoka Silva and Judge Salim Marsook had both presented separate verdicts to the Appeal Court, on the legality of the Court Martial as an accepted court according to the Constitution.