The nine-judge Supreme Court Bench yesterday referred the inquiry into the five fundamental rights applications and one appeal application back to the Chief Justice requesting that he constitutes a full Bench of ten-judges to hear these cases on the impeachment of former Chief Justice Dr Shirani A. Bandaranayake and the appointment of Mohan Peiris as Chief Justice.
The cases were taken up before a SC Bench comprising Justices Shiranee Tilakawardane, N.G. Amaratunga, Saleem Marsoof, K. Sripavan, P.A. Ratnayake, Chandra Ekanayake, Sathya Hettige, Priyasath Dep and S.E. Wanasundera.
At the outset, Presiding Judge Shirani Tilakawardane said these matters would be taken up on the question of law.
In the course of the proceedings, Justice K. Sripavan informed that originally a full Bench of 10 judges was nominated to hear these matters. He pointed out that Justice S.I. Imam had retired and as such the present Bench was without one judge.
In the circumstances, the petitions were referred back to the Chief Justice to appoint a full Bench of ten judges and fixed the matter to be taken up on June 11.
With regard to four of the fundamental rights applications, Counsel M.A. Sumanthiran moved to withdraw them but he informed Court that the question of withdrawal should be decided before the motion of withdrawal which must be taken before considering any application for intervention.
Attorney-at-Law Koggala Wellala Bandula has filed intervention papers.
One of the original petitioners Athula Chandraguptha Thenuwara filed motion for withdrawal. Counsel Sumanthiran appeared for him.(SSS)