Article 14 (a) on the Right to Information ‘has to kick in’, said President’s Counsel K. Kanag Ishwaran appearing for 1st Respondent the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, in the Fundamental Rights application on the Central Bank bond issue taken up before the Supreme Court.
Counsel for Petitioner Professor Nalin De Silva, Rajpal Abeynayake submitted that with profound respect to Counsel, this is a very cavalier statement, especially considering that the 1st Respondent Premier Wickremesinghe had campaigned and come to power on a platform that included the Right to Information. He also submitted that it is ‘preposterous’ to say that there are Rights prescribed in the constitution that ‘hang in the air’, and are not justifiable.
Counsel for Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, K. Kanage Ishwaran President’s Counsel was raising preliminary objections over the Fundamental Rights Petition, filed by Professor Nalin De Silva, on the bond issue of the Central Bank and the Right to Information in that regard, and the release of the draft COPE report on the same.
President’s Counsel Shanki Parthalingam appearing for the Secretary to the President, stated that the application seeks ‘mileage’. Presiding Judge Eva Wanasundera said the Court is not interested in that submission, as Court concerns itself with law. Counsel Kanag Ishawarn submitted on the matter of Article 14 (a) that law is defined as all legislation passed in Parliament. The Attorney General pleaded that the exact law being violated with regard to the Right to Information has not been stated in the Petition.
Counsel for Petitioner Rajpal Abeynayake stated that it has already been decided in the case of the Environmental Foundation vs UDA, that a Right to Information exists as per the Sri Lankan Constitution, and this was long before that right was made a Fundamental Right in Amendment 19.
He asked ‘is that not law?’, as it has become law with the stated Supreme Court judgment.Respondents are to file written submissions on or before Monday 10 August. Petitioner’s Counsel was instructed to submit written submissions by August 13. The Bench comprised Justice Eva Wanasundera, Justice Buwaneka Aluwihara, and Justice Sisira de Abrew.