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Upali Abeyrathana commission has overstepped its mandate; Lawyers to move CA against PCoI report

The JVP-led Lawyers for Democracy is planning to move the Court of Appeal against the report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Political Victimisation as they claim the release of the document is tantamount to contempt of court.

Addressing the media at Solis Hall in Pitakotte yesterday former JVP Provincial Councilor Attorney-at-law Sunil Watagala said that the commission report has recommended the release of 61 persons whose cases were being heard before High Courts. “It is a known fact that matters pending before courts are sub judice and cannot be adjudicated elsewhere as the cases are in progress. The commission has done that. Along with those 61 cases, the commission report recommends the release of accused of several other cases. The commission report recommends the release of accused in 79 cases. This shows that the commission has overstepped its mandate. We are planning to challenge the commission report in the court of appeal.”

Watagala said that the President had appointed another commission to recommend that Parliament be vested with powers to implement the report of Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Political Victimization. “There were instances of hurling stones at the houses of the judges who had judgments not to the liking of government politicians. A Chief Justice was removed as she did not give in to political pressure. A former chief justice made a public apology for a judgment he had once given. It is our belief that this commission has caused an affront to the dignity of judiciary.”

Former commissioner of the Human Rights Commission senior lawyer Ghazali Hussain said: “In a case there are two parties – there is a victim and a suspect. The commission report recommends punitive actions against the victims of the cases pending before courts. This is a serious matter connected to democracy of our society. We must uphold the independence of judiciary. Judicial system should not be permitted to be influenced by the needs of political authority. As concerned citizens it is our duty to stand against this unjust act motivated by partisan politics.”

Senior Lawyer Upul Kumarapperuma said: “There is a fundamental principle in judicial matters known as natural justice. As per that principle, one cannot be the judge of his own case and both parties of a case should be listened to before any decisions. That principle is not upheld in this matter. The second requirement of the natural justice that is to listening to both parties is not maintained in the commission report. This is one sided opinion. That is the biggest weakness of this commission report.”

Attorneys-at-law Harshana Nanayakkara, Manjula Balasuriya, Akalanka Udawatte and Charith Galhena also addressed the press.

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