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AG requests CA not to hear Ranjan’s Writ  



By Chitra Weeraratne

The Attorney General told the Court of Appeal that it should decline to hear the challenge of a decision of the Supreme Court to convict Ranjan Ramanayake for contempt of the highest court in the land.

Additional Solicitor General Indika Demuni de Silva, President’s Counsel, appeared for the Attorney General.

SJV MP Ranjan Ramanayake has challenged by way of a petition of Writ of Prohibition in the Court of Appeal, the direction by the Secretary General of Parliament, to the Commissioner of Elections, to unseat him.

President’s Counsel Faiz Mustapha appearing for Ramanayake said that the contempt of court was not within criminal law. It was a power vested in the judges to mete out punishment for contempt to maintain the dignity of the judges and the forum. Contempt of Court did not fall within Article 89 of the Constitution.

In the case of murder, the High Court was vested with the jurisdiction to impose punishment,for the criminal offence of murder. In Article 105/3 of the Constitution, Contempt was not referred as a criminal offence.

 Additional Solicitor General Indika Demuni de Silva PC, objected to the Writ of Prohibition sought by Ranjan Ramanayake. The ASG said that the application was misconceived in law.

There could not be a Writ of Prohibition, on the decision of the Secretary General of Parliament to restrict Ramanayake from attending Parliament.

Ramanayake has been convicted for contempt of the Supreme Court and sentenced to four years rigorous imprisonment.

Additional Solicitor General Indika Demuni de Silva, PC, appeared for the Attorney General.

The ASG said the Writ cannot be issued to prohibit the authorities concerned from doing their duty. Ramanayake wanted a Writ against the Secretary General of Parliament, preventing him from informing the Commissioner of Elections that Ramanayake has vacated the seat in Parliament.

The Additional Solicitor General said that under Article 105/3, the punishment for Contempt was unlimited. The power had been vested in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal.

The bench comprised Justice Arjuna Obeysekera (President) and Justice Mayadunna Corea.

Hearing resumes on March 18.

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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’



By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam

The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.

Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.

A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.

The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.

According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.

The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.

DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.

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PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners



By Norman Palihawadane

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.

Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.

The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”

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Thilo Hoffman remembered



A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.

Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.

The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.

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