By S.S. Selvanayagam
The Supreme Court yesterday extended the order staying the Special High Court Trial-at-Bar from hearing the D.A. Rajapaksa Museum Case till October 14.
Bench comprising Justices L.T.B. Dehideniya, S.Thurairaja and Gamini Amarasekera deferred the special leave to appeal on the order against revision and SC appeal on the writ petition challenging the jurisdiction till October 11 and extended the interim order till October 14.
The Court of Appeal had dismissed the revision and writ applications filed by former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa challenging the order made by the permanent High Court-at-Bar rejecting his preliminary objection in the D.A. Rajapaksa museum case.
The Court of Appeal observed that in terms of Section 12B of the Judicature Act, the permanent HC Trial-at-Bar cannot be considered as a court of first instance and as such had no jurisdiction to hear these two petitions.
On February 11, the Trial-at-Bar overruled the preliminary objections raised by Mr. Rajapaksa and six others in this case and he then filed a revision and writ applications in the Court of Appeal seeking an order to set aside the order.
The AC upheld the Attorney General’s submissions regarding the court jurisdiction and decided to dismiss the two petitions without costs resulting in Mr. Rajapaksa appealing to the SC.
Romesh de Silva PC instructed by Sanath Wijewardane appeared for Mr. Rajapaksa while Senior Deputy Solicitor General Milinda Gunatilleke appeared for the AG.
The AG had indicted the seven accused -- Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prasad Harshana de Silva, Bhadra Udulawathi Kamaladasa, Sudammika Kheminda Artigala, Saman Kumara Abraham Galappatti, Devage Mahinda Saliya and Srimathi Mallika Kumari Senadheera -- on seven charges including that of misappropriating LRDC funds amounting to Rs.33.9 million.
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