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The Supreme Court yesterday granted relief to Dr. P. B. Jayasundera thereby permitting him to resume duties as Secretary to the Treasury

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Six of the seven-Judge  bench agreed to the granting of relief while, Justice Shirani Tilakawardene dissented.

The reasons for the order are to be given shortly.

Jayasundera sought to withdrew his affidavit given to Court on its order last October, subsequent to the judgement on the Lanka Marine Services Ltd case. He promised not to hold public office.

Counsel Faiz Mustapha PC supported the motion by Jayasundera.

Faiz Mustapha PC said that the Court had not made a final order on the affidavit submitted on October 8, 2008. The final order had been scheduled for October 20, 2008. On December 15, 2008, the proceedings were terminated. Since no order had been made, Jayasundera sought to withdraw his affidavit. Counsel said that the Court had imposed a penalty of Rs. 500,000 on Jayasundera, for violation of fundamental rights of petitioner Vasudeva Nanayakkara, therefore Jayasundera should not be punished thereafter for a second time.

He said the affidavit, through which Jayasundera pledged not to hold public office, consequent to the judgement in the Lanka Marine Services case had been submitted on a directive of the Court. But the judgement had not prohibited him from holding office. The direction for the affidavit to state that Jayasundera would not hold public office had been a restriction on the appointing authority. He could not even seek to hold a ministerial job. That had violated the right to franchise.

Justice Saleem Marsoof to Faiz Mustapha: “Did your client feel that if he had not sworn by affidavit that he would not hold office, he could have been dealt with for contempt of Court.

Faiz Mustapha: “Yes, I was summoned, after the judgement was delivered. The matter was on holding public office.

M. A. Sumanthiran: “A senior public officer who violated the Constitution should not hold public office. Jayasundera was among the respondents who had illegally procured benefits to a private party. He was found guilty of violating Article 12 (1) of the Constitution of Sri Lanka. He tendered an unconditional apology to Court for holding office after the judgement.

Faiz Mustapha: “Compensation payment was imposed in Rs. 500,000 for the rights violation. The money was payable by Jayasundera. The President had wanted him to stay on. But, a week after the judgement, he resigned.

The petitioner had subsequently disputed that Jayasundera held office. The Court directed the submission of an affidavit on October 8, 2008. But, a final order on that as to whether it was accepted or not, was not made. Hence the petitioner may withdrew the affidavit.

“The petitioner seeks to withdraw the portion in the affidavit, which will restrain him from holding public office for life. This is an embargo for life. The Court on October 20, 2008 or even thereafter did not make an operative final order on that affidavit.”

M. A. Sumanthiran, Counsel for Vasudeva Nanayakkara told the Supreme Court that Dr. P. B. Jayasundera should be charged for contempt of the Supreme Court for making baseless allegation, challenging the integrity of the former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva and two sitting judges of the Supreme Court. Sarath N. Silva should be made a respondent and allowed to defend himself. Jayasundera could not make allegations and attempt to withdraw without going through the investigation procedure.

Sumanthiran said that serious findings had been made against Jayasundera in the judgement on the Lanka Marine Service Ltd case. He had not acted in public interest, according to the judgement. He had procured benefit to a private company in privatisation of land at Bloemendhal Road. It had been a loss to the public running into a colossal loss of public fund, Sumanthiran added.

M. A. Sumanthiran appeared with Viran Corea for the original petitioner, in the fundamental rights, violation application of Vasudeva Nanayakkara, who had challenged the privatisation of land belonging to the Sri Lanka Ports Authority at Bloemendhal, Colombo 13. The Supreme Court by Judgement revested the land in the Sri Lanka Ports Authority.

The Attorney General Mohan Peiris PC appeared with Additional Solicitor General Uanjan Wijayatillaka PC Deputy Solicitor General Sanjay Rajaratnam and Senior State Counsel, N. G. Pulle for the State.

The seven judge bench comprised Chief Justice Asoka de Silva, Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, Justice Shirani Tilakawardene, Justice Saleem Marsoof, Justice J. Balapatabendi, Justice K. Sripavan and Justice P. A. Ratnayake.

The Court at the outset overruled an objection by M. A. Sumanthiran to the effect that the motion by Jayasundera should have been referred to the three judge bench that ordered the affidavit on October 8, 2008. If that bench felt it was a public interest matter, it might recommend to the Chief Justice the appointment a fuller bench to hear the motion.

Nihal Sri Amerasekera supported the objections filed against the motion by Jayasundera.

The Island


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September 25, 2009 at 2:55 am

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