By S.S. Selvanayagam
The Court of Appeal yesterday (28) overruled the preliminary objection by the Respondent Ven. Gnanasara Thero with the contempt matter against him and charge sheet was read in the open Court.
The Bench comprising Justice Vijith K. Malalgoda and Justice P. Padman Surasena fixed the matter for argument on 16 May.
Court of Appeal on 27 September directed the Attorney General to consider to amend the summons if necessary against the Ven. Gnanasara Thera with particulars of his alleged offensive conduct with regard to the language and his gestures in the Homagama Magistrate’s Court.
Homagama Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake filed a Contempt of Court action in the Court of Appeal against Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Ven. Galagoda Atte Gnanasara Thera seeking the Appeal Court’s constitutional jurisdiction against Ven. Gnasara Thera’s alleged offensive behaviour in the Homagama Magistrate’s Court amounting to Contempt of Court on 25 January last year.
On 25 January, Ven. Galagoda Atte Gnanasara Thera began to address Open Court after the court hearing pertaining to the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda was over. Later on, Ven. Gnanasara Thera was arrested by Police on the charges of contempt of courts, obstructing Court proceedings and intimidating a public servant.
Through this contempt of Court action, the Homagama Magistrate has sought the Appeal Court’s jurisdiction to consider whether the alleged offensive behaviour of Ven. Gnanasara Thera inside the Court amounts to Contempt of Court.
He further sought Court’s jurisdiction to take necessary legal action against Ven. Gnanasara Thera if the charges levelled against him amount to Contempt of Court.
Manohara de Silva PC appeared for the Accused Thero. Deputy Solicitor General Rohantha Abeysuriya appeared for the Attorney General as Amicus Curiae (friend of the court; the one who assists the court by furnishing information or advice regarding questions of law or fact).