Saturday, August 5, 2017

Charge sheet filed against Padeniya: Court calls for written submissions

Lakmal Sooriyagoda-Thursday, August 3, 2017
The Court of Appeal directed both complainant and respondent parties to file their written submissions on September 8 regarding the preliminary objections raised by Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya regarding a charge sheet filed against him over contemptuous statements, yesterday.
At a previous occasion, a charge sheet was, in open Court, served on GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya by the Court of Appeal for allegedly undermining the Court of Appeal judgment dated January 31 which was delivered compelling the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) to register the MBBS graduates of the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine Limited (SAITM) provisionally as medical practitioners in terms of the Medical Ordinance.
However, Dr. Padeniya through his lawyer, had informed the Court of Appeal that his client was not pleading guilty to the charge sheet when it was read out by the Court stenographer.
President’s Counsel Gamini Marapana with counsel Navin Marapana appearing for the respondent, raised preliminary objections against the charge sheet.
However, President’s Counsel Upul Jayasuriya appearing for the petitioners, moved the Court to proceed with the charge sheet since the Court has already turned down the preliminary objections.
Two-judge-bench comprising Court of Appeal (President) Justice L.T.B. Dehideniya directed the both parties to file their objections on September 8.
On a previous occasion, the Court had issued an Interim Order(IO) preventing GMOA President from making or publishing further contemptuous statements/articles scandalising the Court of Appeal until the final determination of this contempt of court action.
Two civil society activists; Prof. Sarath Wijesuriya, the Convener of National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) and Gamini Viyangoda, the co-convener of Puravesi Balaya Social Movement, had filed this contempt of Court action naming GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya as the respondent.
The petitioners stated that upon the delivery of the said judgment by the Court of Appeal, the GMOA has condemned and openly criticized the said judgment, demanding the annulment or setting aside of the said judgment.
The petitioners further stated, in this backdrop the GMOA headed by Dr. Padeniya has called for a national front and trade union action against SAITM following Court decision in ordering SAITM medical graduates to be registered with the SLMC.
They stated that around April 7, the GMOA had organised an
island-wide trade union action against SAITM, halting all health services including private practice and private health services to stress on the Government to abolish SAITM.
The petitioners stated, the contemptuous statements and comments demonstrate the blatant hatred of the respondent and publication of the same in the said speech indubitably disturbs the Court process and hampers and undermines the authority of the Court of Appeal in respect of the administration of justice, especially in view of the fact that the said speech was published and telecast on several medias and has been uttered by the respondent in a public meeting held under topic of 'Abolish SAITM' on April 4.
The petitioners are pleading that Dr. Padeniya be charged on the offence of Contempt of Court of Appeal under Article 105 (3) of the constitution of the Republic of Sri Lanka.
They are further seeking an
Interim Order restraining and preventing GMOA President from committing, making or publishing further contemptuous statements/articles scandalizing the Court of Appeal until the conclusion of this case. They further urge to impose sentence on the respondent as provided for in Article 105(3) of the Constitution.