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Hirunika’s FR over Duminda’s release: Counsel requests for a full bench of Judges

17 Dec 2021

The Fundamental Rights (FR) petition filed before the Supreme Court in July this year by former MP Hirunika Premachandra, challenging the legality of the Presidential pardon granted by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to former MP Duminda Silva, who was convicted and sentenced to death over her father Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra’s killing came up for mention yesterday (16). Speaking to The Morning, Premachandra's instructing attorney Dimuthu Kurupuarachchi stated that the counsel has requested for the matter to be heard before a full bench constituting at least five Supreme Court Judges. The Judges had then requested the counsel to file a motion stating the reasons for such a request. Accordingly, the matter will be taken up again on 03 March 2022 in order to decide whether the counsel’s request will be granted, or if the case is to proceed with the existing bench. Through the petition, Premachandra has also sought a declaration from the Court that her right to equality and equal protection of the law, as enshrined under and guaranteed by Article 12(1) of the Constitution, has been violated. She states that the decision to pardon Silva, who since his release has been appointed National Housing Development Authority Chairman, was unreasonable and undermined the authority of the Court, since his conviction had been affirmed by a five-Judge bench of the Supreme Court. President Rajapaksa granted a Presidential pardon to Silva on 24 June, leading to an avalanche of criticism from the family of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra, the Parliamentary Opposition, the legal community, diplomats and foreign nations.

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