The Chief Justice has nominated a fuller bench comprising seven judges of the Supreme Court to hear several Fundamental Rights petitions filed over the Easter Sunday terror attacks.
Accordingly, these petitions will be heard before a seven-judge-bench comprising Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justice Buwaneka Aluwihare, Justice Sisira de Abrew, Justice Priyantha Jayawardena, Justice Prasanna Jayawardena, Justice L.T.B. Dehideniya and Justice Murdu Fernando on July 12.
The Attorney General, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) and several other parties had filed motions seeking a fuller bench in respect of these petitions since these applications are of public importance.
Nine Fundamental Rights petitions including a petition filed by a father of two deceased children who died during Easter Sunday attack are to be taken up for hearing on the next date.
In his petition, petitioner Saman Nandana Sirimanne, the father of late Medha Sathsarani Sirimanne, 21, and late Imesh Thiwanka Sirimanne, 19, who met an untimely death at the explosion that took place on the April 22, 2019 at the Shrine of St. Anthony Church, Kochchikade filed this FR petition seeking an order to investigate and prosecute the Inspector General of Police and former Defence Secretary under the Penal Code.
The petitioner stated that late Medha Sathsarani Sirimanne, 21, was an under-graduate of the external degree programme of the Kelaniya University.
The petitioner stated that his late son Imesh Thivanka Sirimanne aged 19 was to sit for the GCE (A/L) examination in 2019.
The petitioner stated that late Thathsarani and late Umesh had gone to the Shrine of St. Anthony Church, Kochchikade, in order to pray for upcoming exams and obtain blessings. Though they are both Buddhists, the Shrine of St. Anthony Church, Kochchikade was a preferred place for prayers not only the Catholics but by people of all religions.
The petitioner stated that his two children died due to the bomb blast took place at of St. Anthony Church, Kochchikade leaving the petitioner to face the sudden and unexpected loss of both his children at the prime of their youth. The petitioner stated that the petitioner as well as every citizen of this country is entitled for right of equality before the law and equal protection of the law as the Article 12 (1) of the Constitution of the republic as a Fundamental Rights.
The petitioner seeks to challenge interalia the persistent failure on the part of the Inspector General of Police and former Defence Secretary to investigate and failure to take appropriate steps to safeguard the public security. The petitioner stated that at least 359 people were killed including at least 37 foreign nationals and three police officers and at least 500 were injured during series of coordinated terrorist suicide bombings at three Christian Churches and three luxury hotels. The petitioner alleged that the respondents had received an intelligence memo warning about possible suicide bomb attacks on churches, other places of financial and economically vital places being planned by Mohammed Zaharan, the leader of an extremist National Islamist group called Thawheed Jamath.