Nov 15, Colombo: Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court Tuesday ruled that former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, former Finance Ministers Mahinda Rajapaksa and Basil Rajapaksa and other top officials are responsible for the economic crisis that has arisen in the country and ruled that the group violated basic human rights.
A majority of judges of the five-member Supreme Court Bench chaired by Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya has ruled that former Central Bank governors Ajith Nivard Cabraal and Professor W.D. Laxman, former Secretary of the Ministry of Finance S.R. Attygalle, former President's Secretary P.B. Jayasundara, and the Monetary of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka had violated the fundamental rights of the people
Accordingly, it was stated in the judgment that the respondents should pay the court fees of Rs.150000/- each to the petitioners.
Examining two fundamental rights petitions filed by the former president of Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce Chandra Jayaratne, a group including swimming champion Julian Bowling and Professor Mahim Mendis of the Colombo Open University demanding an order to conduct an investigation into the people responsible for the current economic crisis and announcing the verdict, Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya announced this decision with the concurrence of Judges Murdu Fernando, Vijith Malalgoda, and Bhuwaneka Aluwihare.
Justice Priyantha Jayawardena, a member of the five-judge bench who announced the minority case verdict, said that he would order the dismissal of the petitions.
Justice Jayawardena also stated that the petition should be dismissed for several reasons including the fact that the petitions have not been filed within the proper legal period.
Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, who announced the decision of the majority of the bench, stated that it was revealed during the hearing of the petitions that the respondents held responsible positions during the period from November 2019 to August 2022.
The Chief Justice stated that it is clear that the respondents were aware of the possibility of an economic recession in the country during this period and stated that they did not take proper measures to prevent this situation.
As a result, it had become impossible to provide essential services such as electricity, gas, medicine etc. and the people as well as the country have fallen into a deep abyss.
It has been stated in the judgment that despite the fact that economic experts including the International Monetary Fund have predicted that an economic crisis may arise in the country, it is not seen that the respondents have taken care of it and the statements made by the respondents that they have taken all measures to curb the current economic crisis cannot be accepted.
The majority of the five-member bench led by the Chief Justice stated that the respondents have violated the public trust and responsibility and thereby violated the basic human rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
However, the majority of judges of the bench stated that the court will not issue orders to pay compensation in this regard and further stated that the respondents should pay court fees of Rs. 150000/- each to the petitioners.