Gammanpila requests Nine-Judge bench to hear FR petitions

Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) Leader Minister Udaya Gammanpila yesterday requested the Supreme Court to appoint a nine-Judge bench to hear the Fundamental Rights (FR) petitions on dissolution of parliament.

Addressing a news briefing, the minister said a nine-Judge bench
was not something strange to us.

“The petitions filed on the 13th Amendment to the Constitution were also heard before a bench comprised of nine Judges. Since there is a void of two Judges at the Supreme Court, we request it to appoint all its remaining nine Judges to the bench to hear this case,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said they expect to file a lawsuit against UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake for allegedly making a statement defaming the Supreme Court.

The Minister said the MP has made the statement during a TV programme about the composition of the Supreme Court Judge bench which would hear the FR petitions filed against the dissolution of parliament.

“In his words, the MP said a three-Judge bench had already given a stay order and that its rumoured that the proposed bench would comprise of five Judges. He said three Judges are on their side and the other two Judges on the other side. Therefore, he said the decision would not be changed. How did the UNP come to know that the proposed Judge bench would be comprised of five judges? How can they say three Judges are on their side? This is a grave defamation caused to the Supreme Court," he said.

He said the MP's remarks had sparked controversy on social media with people highlighting and analysing Supreme Court Judges' religious beliefs, marital relationships, how their children received employment opportunities and so on.

"The faith the people have placed in the judiciary should be preserved in order to maintain the sovereignty of the judiciary. MP Ramanayake had created a situation that people may not believe any ruling delivered by the Courts now," the minister said. (Lahiru Pothmulla)