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Thursday 17 March 2016

Order reserved on Fundamental Rights case on Bond issue

Order was reserved in the Fundamental Rights application citing the Right to Information with regard to the COPE report of the previous Parliament, regarding the bond issue of the Central Bank. The Petition filed in August of 2015, states that all citizens including the Petitioner are entitled to every right to all information with regard to the Central Bank bond issue that took place early in 2015, which by some accounts had led to a colossal fraud, amounting to rupees14 billion. The Petition filed by Dr. Nalin de Silva, stated that all information should be available to the citizens of Sri Lanka on this issue, as that was a constitutional position, and stated that there is a newly promulgated Right to Information law, which guarantees citizens' rights on obtaining such information.

When this issue was taken up in the Supreme Court recently, Counsel for Petitioner Rajpal Abeynayake countered preliminary objections made by the Counsel for the the Prime Minister, President's Counsel Mr. K. Kanag Ishwaran. President's Counsel Dr. Harsha Cabraal appeared for the Governor of the Central Bank and Presidents' Counsel Shanki Parthalingam for one other Respondent, and Mr. Malinda Goonewardne appeared for the Attorney General.

Preliminary objections of opposing Counsel were essentially based on the legality of the Right to Information as a Fundamental Right. Counsel argued that the Right is still not justiciable.

Counsel for the Petitioner Rajpal Abeynayake said that the Right to Information has already been recognized as justiciable even before the enactment of the fundamental right.

Counsel Abeynayake filed written submissions and stated that under guise of preliminary objections, Counsel for Respondents had taken up substantive issues with regard to the application per se, made by the Petitioner.