After hearing an appeal regarding a request for information about the granting of Presidential Pardon to former Member of Parliament Duminda Silva, the chairman of the Right to Information Commission retired Supreme Court Justice Upali Abeyratne withdrew from the hearing yesterday.
He did so after considering an objection raised by the appellant when the appeal was called.
A citizen named Dhanushka Silva had submitted this appeal for a request for information from the Attorney General’s Department and the Presidential Secretariat regarding the granting of presidential pardons to Duminda Silva, Jude Shramantha, and Sunil Ratnayake.
The appeal was called yesterday before retired Supreme Court Justice Upali Abeyratne, former President of the Court of Appeal Justice Rohini Walgama, lawyer Kishali Pinto-Jayawardene and lawyer Jagath Liyana Arachchi.
At this hearing, the appellant’s side stated that they would raise a preliminary objection. This was allowed by the commission. The appellant’s stated that the Presidential Commission appointed by the former President, which was established to investigate political revenges, went beyond their authority when making recommendations regarding Duminda Silva, who was not a public servant. The appellant said that Upali Abeyratne, who served as the chairman of the Presidential Commission which gave this recommendation, is now the chairman of this commission, and that he appears to have a strong connection with Duminda Silva, according to a report. As there may be a conflict of interest, the appellant requested Upali Abeyratna to withdraw from the appeal hearing without setting a wrong precedent. The said report was submitted to the commission as well.
Judge Abeyratne accepted the request. Accordingly, the hearing was adjourned to be called on a later date before the other commissioners.