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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Sri Lanka: AG says he will not represent former President Gotabaya in a FR case

The Attorney General informed the Supreme Court on Monday (26) that he would not represent former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in three Fundamental Rights petitions filed challenging the legality of the proclamation declaring a State of Emergency issued by him.

Senior State Counsel Shavendra Wickrama told the Supreme Court Bench comprising Justice P. Padman Surasena, Justice Gamini Amarasekara and Justice Shiran Gooneratne that the AG would not represent the former President.

However, the Attorney General had informed that he would appear for the other respondents in the petitions.

The Supreme Court granted leave to proceed on 23 February 2023 with the petition over an alleged violation of Articles 12(1), 13(1), and 14(1) of the Constitution.

The Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu and several others filed these petitions challenging the Proclamation of the State of Emergency by Gazette Extraordinary No. 2278/22 dated Friday, 6 May 2022, and the Emergency Regulation No. 1 of 2022. The petitioners cited Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Defence Secretary, the IGP, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC), the Attorney General and several others as respondents.

The petitioner stated that the declaration of a State of Emergency is a violation of freedom of expression, assembly and other democratic rights.

In his petition, Dr. Saravanamuttu noted that as of 6 May 2022, there were no circumstances in the country that could reasonably support the decision of the President to declare a State of Emergency. He also emphasised that, within two months, the President declared a State of Emergency twice and, on both occasions, did not cause the proclamations declaring the said States of Emergency to be placed before Parliament.

Thus, it was heard that the said State of Emergency was promulgated in bad faith and with the ulterior motive of preventing the use of social media and peaceful protests by citizens calling for the President’s resignation.

By Sandasen Marasinghe/ Ceylon Today

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