A Fundamental Rights petition which was filed seeking an immediate inquiry into those responsible for the bankruptcy of the country and the people by adopting reckless economic decisions without proper assessment was yesterday fixed for July 4 by the Supreme Court.
The petition seeks an order restraining former Finance Ministers Mahinda Rajapaksa and Basil Rajapaksa, former Central Bank Governors Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Dr.W.D.Lakshman and former Finance Ministry Secretary S.R. Attygalle from traveling abroad without the approval of the Supreme Court.
The petition was taken up before a Supreme Court Three-Judge-Bench comprising Justices S.Thureiraja, Gamini Amarasekara and Kumuduni Wickremesinghe.
The Counsels only appeared for first respondent, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the 8th respondent, Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe and the 9th respondent, the Sri Lanka Monetary Board.
Pointing out that notices have been issued to all the respondents in the petition, the Bench decided that there is no need to issue notices again to the respondents who did not appear in Court. The Court emphasized that the respondents should be aware of it.
The Bench pointed out that another petition similar to this petition is scheduled to be heard before the Supreme Court five-Judge-Bench on July 4.
Accordingly, the Bench decided to direct the petition for consideration on the same day.
The petition was filed by former Chamber of Commerce Chairman Chandra Jayaratne, swimming champion Julian Bowling, Jehan Kanegaratne and Transparency International Sri Lanka.
The Petition has cited the Attorney General on behalf of the President, former Minister of Finance and former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, current Minister of Finance and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, former Governors of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Dr.W.D Lakshman, former Ministers of Finance Basil Rajapaksa, Ali Sabry, former Secretary to the Ministry of Finance S.R. Attygalle, President of the Bar Association of Ceylon Saliya Peiris PC and 13 others as the respondents.
The petitioners allege that the country is currently in a state of bankruptcy and the people are in dire straits due to the unwise economic policies and inefficient administration pursued by the respondents.The petition alleges that this has made it difficult for the people to access essential services such as fuel, electricity, food and medicine.
The petition states that due to this situation, Sri Lanka has been listed as a country that cannot repay foreign loans and this has brought more disrepute to the country internationally.
The petition points out that the tax concessions granted unnecessarily by the respondents in 2019 were one of the reasons for this economic crisis.
The petitioners also allege that the failure to seek the assistance of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at the right time during the economic crisis has led to such a crisis in the country.
The petition has sought a declaration that the respondents have violated the fundamental human rights of the public. Also, the petitioners request the Supreme Court to issue an order to conduct an immediate investigation into the matters pointed out in this petition.
The petition also sought an order directing several respondents to appoint a Committee under the supervision of the Court to compile a report on the financial irregularities and mismanagement of the economy in relation to the specific cases outlined in the petition.
Also, the petition has requested that the cabinet decisions taken regarding the financial matters, the documents exchanged between the respondents be submitted to the Court.
President’s Counsel Chandaka Jayasundara, S.A. Beiling, Chinthaka Fernando, Sayuri Liyanasuriya and Manisha Dissanayake appeared on the advice of Upendra Gunasekara for the petitioners.