Sumathipala has no basis to proceed – SC

by Chitra Weerarathne

The Supreme Court yesterday held that Thilanga Sumathipla, has no basis to proceed with his fundamental rights violation application. His fundamental rights had not been infringed or not even likely to be infringed as alleged in his petition.

Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva yesterday observed that there is no problem in the Attorney General stating that there is a prima facie case consequent to an inquiry and in the Attorney General thereafter directing the CID to report facts to the Magistrate’s Court.

The Attorney General is stating his perception. The suspect could go before the Court and say that the facts placed before the Magistrate is not substantial to frame charges.

The Chief Justice made the aforesaid observations when the fundamental rights violation application filed by Thilanga Sumathipala was supported by Rienzie Arsecularatne PC.

The petition alleged that the Attorney General had directed the CID to arrest and produce Sumathipala in Court. Arsecularatne said that there was no substantial evidence against Sumathipala to the effect that he aided and abetted one Dhammika Amerasinghe to leave for the UK on a forged passport. There was a danger of his client being arbitrarily arrested, counsel said.

Senior State Counsel, Shavindra Fernando, told the Supreme Court that the Attorney General only directed the CID to place the facts of the investigation before the Magistrate. The Attorney General did not order an arrest. When facts are placed before the Magistrate, the Magistrate may make any appropriate order, which would be judicial. The Attorney General decided that there is a prima facie case against Sumathipala for aiding and abetting Dhammika Amerasinghe to forge a passport.Shavindra Fernando told the Supreme Court that, the facts would be placed before the Magistrate by December 4, 2003.

The counsel for Sumathipala may appear there and defend his client.

The Senior State Counsel said that neither Attorney General, nor the CID or the IGP, had infringed the fundamental rights of Sumathipala. The Attorney General had followed the procedure and directed the CID to place the facts of the investigation before the Magistrate. A judicial consideration may follow.

Rienzie Arsecularatne: — Even reporting the facts to that Court could be flawed.

Chief Justice: — Take it up in that Court. It is a part of the judicial process.

Rienzie Arsecularatne: — I want to know the exact time and date, when the report will be filed in the Magistrate’s Court. If I am told, when I could go there and defend my client. Otherwise he might be warranted on flawed reports submitted by the CID.

Shavindra Fernando — Counsel may check at the Magistrate’s Court, and find out. The facts are ready even to be filed now.

Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva at this stage referred to the Supreme Court judgement which specified guidelines to be followed by the Magistrate in issuing a warrant. He told Mr. Arsecularatne that, the document may be used by Mr. Arsecularatne, before the Magistrate.

Justice P. Edussuriya — The Supreme Court will not tie the hands of the Magistrate. Every Tom, Dick and Harry will come here to complain.

The Supreme Court said that since any action will be taken only after the facts are reported to the Magistrate, there is no infringement or imminent infringement of Sumathipala’s fundamental rights. The Supreme Court said that there is no basis to proceed with the Rights violation plea of Sumathipala.

Rienzie Arsecularatne, appeared with Saliya Peiris for the petitioner Thilanga Sumathipala, the President of the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka.

Senior State Counsel, Shavindra Fernando with State Counsel Uditha Egalahewa, appeared for the CID, the IGP and the Attorney General, the respondents in the petition.

The Bench comprised the Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, Justice P. Edussuriya and Justice Nihal Jayasinghe.