Duminda’s pardon:BASL wants President to make public statement

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has written President Gotabaya Rajapaksa requesting to make the public aware the basis on which Duminda Silva was selected for the purpose of granting a pardon under Article 34 (1) of the Constitution. The BASL states that it is the right of the public to know whether the said pardon has been granted in accordance  with the report of the trial Judges, the opinion of the Attorney General and the recommendation of the Justice Minister.

In a statement, BASL Secretary Rajeev Amarasuriya announced that the Executive Committee of the BASL has been drawn to a pardon given by President to Duminda Silva, a prisoner who was convicted for unlawful assembly and murder by a High Court at Bar, which was unanimously affirmed by a Divisional Bench of the Supreme Court headed by the then Chief Justice Priyasath Dep.

The BASL requests the President to convey the circumstances which were taken into consideration in the granting of such pardon and the reasons as to why the case of Duminda Silva stands out from others who are currently sentenced. The BASL further request to reveal whether a report was called for by the President from the Trial Judges as required by the Proviso to Article 34 (1) prior to granting of the pardon to Duminda Silva and if so the contents of the report.

The BASL observed that a report is required to be forwarded to the Attorney General for advice regarding such a pardon and the proviso also requires the Attorney General’s opinion to be referred to the Minister of Justice who too is required to submit a recommendation to the President.

“The Bar Association of Sri Lanka maintains that if any one or more considerations stated above, were not satisfied in the current case, the pardon granted to Duminda Silva would be unreasonable and arbitrary and will result in erosion to the Rule of Law and result in a loss of public confidence in respect of the administration of justice,” BASL statement said.The BASL maintained that any pardon to be granted under Article 34 of the Constitution should be made after a careful analysis of the necessity to grant such a pardon as stipulated in the proviso to Article 34 (1) of the Constitution.

The BASL further maintained that the power and discretion vested on the President to grant pardon should be always be exercised judiciously and such power must not be exercised arbitrarily and selectively.
(Daily news)

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