Lawyers for Democracy yesterday filed a rights petition in the Supreme Court challenging the acting appointment made to the post of Court of Appeal President.
Petitioners Lal Wijenayake, G.A. Sunil Jayaratne, Luxman Jothikumar and R.A. Namal Rajapakse allege that the 12th respondent Justice Deepali Wijesundera has been repeatedly and successively appointed as the Acting President of the Court of Appeal from January 9, 2019 up to date.
They state that Justice Wijesundera is made party to their application on account of the fact that the actions mentioned in their application impacts on her as well, having been designated by the President.
The Attorney General, Members of the Constitutional Council, Justice Deepali Wijesundera and President’s Secretary Udaya Ranjith Seneviratne were cited as respondents.
They named the Attorney General as the 1st respondent and a party to the case in terms of the law as he is the Chief Legal Officer of the country and that action can be filed against the Attorney General in respect of anything done or omitted by the President in his official capacity.
Petitioners claim that from January 9, 2019, the Court of Appeal is without a lawfully and duly appointed President as mandated by Article 137 of the Constitution.
The Article 137 reads, “The Court of Appeal shall consist of President of the Court of Appeal and less than six and not more than eleven other judges who shall be appointed as provided in Article 107.”
The petition state that the Constitutional Council had not approved the initial acting appointment and that the several consecutive “acting appointments” to the Court of Appeal is arbitrary, capricious, irrational and ultra vires the Constitution.
They said such action have an adverse impact on the dispensation of the administration of justice.
The petitioners said the President is constitutionally bound to make a permanent appointment to the position of President of the Court of Appeal with the approval of the Constitutional Council as required by the Constitution. (S.S. Selvanayagam)